No one from the Indian Embassy reached out to stranded Indian students in Kharkiv in Ukraine, where a Karnataka native pursuing medicine was killed in shelling amid a Russian military offensive, the victim’s father alleged on Tuesday.
Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar from the Haveri district was killed when he stepped out of his bunker to exchange currency and fetch some food, his uncle Ujjanagouda claimed.
The victim’s residence in Chalageri in Karnataka’s Haveri district slipped into gloom upon receiving the news of their child having been killed in the faraway European nation, with a large number of people thronging the house to console the bereaved family.
The boy’s father Gyanagoudar complained that no one from the Indian Embassy reached the students stuck in Kharkiv, which is witnessing hostilities. His family members said Naveen was in the fourth year of his course in the Kharkiv medical college.
Ujjanagouda said Naveen, along with others from Karnataka, was stuck in a bunker in Kharkiv. He had gone out in the morning to exchange currency and to fetch some food when he was caught in the shelling, in which he was killed instantaneously.
On Tuesday, when he rang up his father, Naveen said there was no food and water in the bunker, Ujjanagouda stated.
Learning about the tragedy, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai called up Gyanagoudar over the phone and expressed his sorrow.
Bommai assured Gyanagoudar he would make every effort to bring his son’s body back to India. He also told him that he is touch with the officials in the External Affairs Ministry.
The bereaved father told Bommai that Naveen had called him in the morning as well and he used to ring him up at least two to three times every day, he told the Chief Minister.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi wrote on Twitter, “With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning.”
A number of Indians are still stranded in Kharkiv, where Russia has launched a major military offensive.
The MEA said the Foreign Secretary is calling in ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate India’s demand for “urgent safe passage” to Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and other cities in conflict zones.
“Similar action is also being undertaken by our ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine,” the MEA said.
Earlier, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine on Tuesday asked stranded Indians in Kyiv to leave the capital city urgently.
In an advisory, it asked the citizens to leave Kyiv by available trains or any other means. “All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available,” the Embassy said.
The advisory came amid increasing fighting between Russian forces and Ukrainian troops around Kyiv.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to evacuate Indians stranded in the country. The IAF is likely to deploy several C-17 aircraft as part of Operation Ganga.