‘Were promised Russian bride and job, tortured to join Army’: Cousins from Haryana recount horror

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New Delhi: Mukesh (21) and Sunny (24), hailing from Haryana, have recounted a distressing ordeal involving more than 200 men, mostly from South Asia, allegedly trapped in camps by deceitful immigration agents deep within a Russian forest along the border of Russia and Belarus.

How fake agents lured the cousins

According to the cousins, they were promised employment in a German hotel but were sent to Bangkok. From there, they were flown to Belarus by air and subsequently led into Russia through forested areas where these alleged camps were set up.

Once in Russia, the cousins said that the immigration agents dangled incentives like Russian work permits, brides, and even passports in exchange for enlistment in the Russian military.

The men, bearing visible injuries, claimed to have endured hunger, thirst, and relentless physical and mental abuse at the hands of these agents, as reported by TOI. Refusal to join the army allegedly led to imprisonment in Moscow for illegal entry into Russia.

Victims reveal their ordeals

A Moscow lawyer aided their release from jail, shedding light on the involvement of immigration agents affiliated with the Russian government. The lawyer disclosed that these agents receive substantial sums, up to Rs 2 lakh each, for pressurising foreign youths to join the Russian army amidst the Ukraine conflict.

Mukesh and Sunny spoke of enduring torture, including burns from heated objects, exposure to freezing conditions, and threats with weapons. “They burned us with heated wood and matchsticks, made us lie on ice, pointed guns and knives at us,” said Mukesh.

Sunny recounted a harrowing ordeal of being deprived of food for a long period. Sunny said, “We were not given food for about 15 days. Around 200 boys like us are still in that hell. I pray for their safe return.”

Their resistance to joining the military resulted in imprisonment alongside two friends, one Pakistani and the other from Punjab, who remain trapped. The cousins lamented the uncertain fate of these friends and others enduring similar circumstances.

The cousins’ ordeal unfolded alongside the plight of Karnal teenager Harsh, who claimed to have been forcibly deployed to the Russia-Ukraine border with six other Indian youths. However, their whereabouts following deployment remain unknown to Mukesh and Sunny.

In response to the families’ complaints, police have initiated action by filing an FIR against six implicated immigration agents under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. Sandeep Kumar, the investigation officer at Madhuban police station, said that investigations into the matter is underway.

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