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I hope to return soon, says Kalimpong resident and ex-serviceman duped into joining Russian army | Mio Kitchen


 The message from the Kalimpong resident coincides with reports that Russia has broadly agreed to return Indians working in the Russian army

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, 10.07.24 : Urgen Tamang, an ex-serviceman who was allegedly duped by job agents into joining the Russian army, has expressed confidence that he will be rescued soon.

The message from the Kalimpong resident coincides with reports that Russia has broadly agreed to return Indians working in the Russian army.

It is learnt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken up with Russian President Vladimir Putin the issue of Indians being recruited to the Russian army. During an informal meeting on Monday, the two heads of state also discussed the return of those Indians who are currently serving in the Russian army.

During a video call with Rabi Pradhan, the chairman of the board of administrators of the Kalimpong municipality, on Monday, Tamang expressed confidence that he would return to India soon.

“I hope to return soon. At least, I have been able to communicate with my family members for the past one-and-a-half-months,” said Tamang, who had in May sent a message through a Russian friend’s mobile phone.

Tamang had said that he was posted with the second battalion of the 144 brigade of the Russian Army. On Monday, he said many members of his battalion had died in the war in the past few months.

“There have been quite a few casualties. I think we have crossed into Ukraine territory. We have to locate (enemies) using the drone and then indulge in arti (artillery) firing,” said Tamang.

Tamang, who is in his 40s, had left for Russia on January 18. He had sent out an SOS to the Indian government on March 20 to rescue him before he was sent to the frontlines to fight Ukraine.

Pradhan, the civic chief, had contacted the ministry of external affairs, among other offices, and conveyed Tamang’s appeal to them. Darjeeling MP Raju Bista had also approached the ministry.

Chandru A, the director of the ministry of external affairs, had then stated that the government was pursuing the issue. “The matter has been taken up with our embassy in Moscow for necessary assistance,” Chandru had said.

The ministry had earlier said that each and every case brought to the attention of the Indian embassy in Moscow had been taken up with the Russian authorities and cases brought to the notice of the ministry taken up with the Russian embassy in Delhi.

Four Indians working with the Russian army have been killed so far, say reports.

Earlier, Tamang had said that agents from Siliguri had sent him to Delhi where another agent met him and gave him a ticket and visa to fly to Moscow. Urgen, who had retired from the Indian army in 2018, was working as a security guard in a private company in Gujarat.

“In Moscow, I was received by a Nepali/Gorkha and kept in a hotel. The next day, another agent (who hails) from Tamil Nadu kept me in a hotel for eight to nine days,” he had said.

Afterwards, he was sent to an army camp, kept there for 17-18 days and made to sign a bond. “After that, they took me to another jungle camp where I was trained in the use of ammunition for 10-12 days. They then told me I would have to go to the frontline,” Tamang said.

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