How Two Kashmiri Job Seekers Found Themselves At Russian Frontline


(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- Everytime, Sajad Ahmad Kumar hears the distant echoes of bullets and firing during his phone conversation with his brother Azad Yousuf Kumar, his heart skips a beat.

Two months ago, when Azad, a borewell technician, was blessed with a baby boy, he resolved to find a secure job that would support his growing family. However, little did he know that he would end up in Russia fighting their war with neighboring country Ukraine.

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Azad, a 31-year-old resident of Poshwan village in Tral, Pulwama district, stumbled upon an advertisement from a YouTube channel called“Baba Vlogs,” operated by a consultant named Faisal Khan, based in Dubai.

“My brother reached-out to them, they informed him to travel to Dubai,” said Sajad.

Azad, according to his brother, fled to Dubai in December 2013, where he was provided tickets to Moscow, Russia, by the said consultant.

Read Also Several Indians Discharged From Russian Army Following India's Demand: MEA India Urges Nationals To Stay Away From Conflict Zone In Ukraine

“He was asked to sign papers in Russian language, he couldn't understand it. He is not educated as well,” Kumar said.

Azad wasn't the only Indian who was dubbed by the company, there were 11 others from different states of India who were forcefully dispatched to Russia to join its war with Ukraine.

According to reports, these individuals were allegedly lured by agents to enlist in the Russian state-funded private military company, the Wagner Group, under the guise of employment opportunities in Russia. Subsequently, they were purportedly left in conflict-ridden Ukraine as part of the Russian military force.

Upon arrival in Russia, Azad and his companions were transferred to the Russian Army and underwent a rigorous 15-day training program, and subsequently deployed to the border with Ukraine.

“He was forced to serve as a mercenary to fight the Russian war,” Kumar laments, adding,“two weeks ago, a bullet hit his feet and he is injured now.”

He says that they aren't able to communicate with their kin regularly and they fear for his life.

“We don't know anyone. Neither we know to whom we should contact,” Kumar said.

“His wife is crying inconsolably and eagerly yearns for her husband's return.”

According to Sajad, his brother, Azad is unable to use the internet as there is a high possibility of drone attack from the“enemy” side.

“He tried to return back but the top Russian army came to know about their moment quickly. It's impossible to leave the camp,” he added.

Azad is not the only Kashmir who was lured by the YouTube channel owner, another youth Zahoor Ahmad, from Hanjinar village of Karnah in Kupwara district is also stuck in Russia and fighting along with its Army.

A family member of Ahmad told Kashmir Observer that Zahoor was also desperately looking for a job and came in touch with Faisal Khan through social media.

“We don't know who he ended-up with in Russia. But we want him back, we are very worried,” said a family member.

He further added that due to poor network signals they are unable to get a clear picture of how he was lured there.

Both the families have appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in this matter and help them to bring back their kin.

Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India spokesperson Randhir Jaishwal said,“We are aware that a few Indian nationals have signed up for support jobs with the Russian army. The Indian Embassy has regularly taken up this matter with the relevant Russian authorities for their early discharge. We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict.”

The Jammu and Kashmir Students Association on Monday claimed to have raised the issue with the Indian Embassy in Moscow, who informed them that
efforts are underway to facilitate their return to India.

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.”

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