Punjab youth in Russia tricked into joining army with 40 others : The Tribune India

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Punjab youth in Russia tricked into joining army with 40 others

“Agent took over Rs 35 lakh for his safe passage I Despite complaint, no FIR lodged”

Punjab youth in Russia tricked into joining army with 40 others

Screengrab of Mandeep’s video call.



Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, May 22

A Goraya-based man in Jalandhar who had gone to Armenia and then Russia, in search of better job prospects has been tricked into joining the Russian Army by travel agents and handlers in Russia, his family has alleged.

The family has appealed for their money to be retrieved from the agents and the man, Mandeep Kumar, to be safely brought back to India. A complaint has also been made to the Jalandhar police claiming that Mandeep also has a physical disability in foot.

File photo of Mandeep.

Kumar had gone to Armenia along with two of his friends in August 2023. Following working there for months, the trio, met two others and all five of them approached an agent on Bholath Road in Kapurthala agent via Facebook.

On reaching Russia they were occasionally kept hungry, beaten, threatened for money and were stranded, his brother Jagdeep alleged. While the other four returned, Mandeep remains in Russia.

The family says they last spoke to Mandeep on March 3 when he had called from a Russian number and told he had been enlisted in the Russian army and feared for his life. “He was wearing a uniform and carrying a gun and added there were at least 40 more Punjabi youths with him,” Jagdeep added.

The family alleged they sent Rs 35,40,000 for the safe passage of Mandeep, to the agent.

Jagdeep Kumar added, “The Bholath agents promised they would send Mandeep to Italy. Mandeep along with two others was taken to Moscow and onwards to Belarus and then to Saint Petersburg, the Russian far-west for onward journey to Finland. They were abandoned at a petrol pump without food and drink. After I organised their return to St Petersburg, Mandeep remained there as he wanted to work.”

Jagdeep alleged, “Agents again promised a job for Mandeep in Russia. Sandeep Hans, Gurpreet, Jashan and Sabharwal also came to my house. In total, we gave them Rs 35,40,000, none of which has been returned. I complained to the Jalandhar SSP in February 2024 but an FIR is yet to be lodged.”

Jalandhar SSP Ankur Gupta said, “I am not aware of this complaint but we will look into the matter.”

This is not first such incident. In March, details had emerged how some 100 youth, including some from Punjab and Haryana, had been tricked in to joining the Russian Army.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had taken up with the Russian Government and asked for action against agents who recruited Indian nationals as support staff of the Russian Army on false promises. The CBI had put under its scanner two Russia-based agents who were involved in transporting gullible Indian youth to that country and pushing them into the Ukraine war zone, officials said.

The CBI registered an FIR against these agents spread across India. All the accused were booked under sections of the IPC related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and human trafficking.

Around 100 youths were enlisted earlier

In March, details had emerged how some 100 youth, including some from Punjab and Haryana, had been tricked in to joining the Russian Army. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had taken up with the Russian Government and asked for action against agents who recruited Indian nationals as support staff of the Russian Army on false promises.

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