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Alleged job fraud leaves Kashmiri youth stranded in Russia-Ukraine war

Jahangeer Ganaie

Awantipora, Feb 26: An alleged job fraud has left a youth from south Kashmir’s Awantipora stranded in Russia, where he finds himself caught up in the conflict in Ukraine, fighting for his life.

Azad Yousuf Kumar (32), son of Mohammad Yousuf Kumar, a resident of Poshwan village in the Awantipora area of Pulwama district, is currently stuck at the Russian border, entangled in a war with which he has no connection, reports said.

According to Azad’s family members, he had initially planned to seek employment in Dubai. However, after contacting a YouTuber named Faisal Khan from Mumbai, who purportedly assists Indian youth in securing jobs abroad, Azad found himself in a situation far removed from his intentions.

“In December last year, he (Azad) left home to secure a job in Dubai. However, a few days later, he informed us that he was in Dubai. It later came to the fore that the consultancy agent had made him sign a contract in Russian, following which he was taken to Russia to participate in their conflict,” his family lamented.

Despite being in contact with him through social media, Azad’s family was shocked to learn that instead of finding employment in Dubai, he was thrust into the turmoil of war-torn Russia, where he claimed to have been shot and injured by the Ukrainian Army.

With a four-month-old baby at home, his family members are gravely concerned about his safety and well-being. They have appealed to the authorities to intervene in the matter and facilitate Azad’s safe return home. They have specifically requested the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Ministry of External Affairs in ensuring his safe repatriation.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, wrote on X: “Request @DrSJaishankar ji @MEAIndia to intervene in facilitating the return of Azad Yousaf Kumar from Awantipora forcibly deployed into the Russian army to fight against Ukraine. The family is extremely distressed & worried about his safety.”

The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement issued on Monday assured that every such case brought to the attention of the Indian Embassy in Moscow has been strongly pursued with the Russian authorities.

It said the cases brought to the attention of the Ministry have been taken up with the Russian Embassy in New Delhi, which have led to the discharge of several Indian nationals.

“We remain committed, as a matter of top priority, to actively pursuing with the Russian authorities all the relevant cases of Indian nationals for an early discharge from the Russian army,” the MEA said.


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