New Delhi: The week-old conflict in Ukraine brought bad news today for India as a 21-year-old student from Karnataka was killed, heightening the anxiety and worries of thousands of parents whose wards are stuck in the warzone.
Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, who hails from Chalageri in Karnataka, was killed in Kharkiv, the second biggest city of Ukraine.
While the External Affairs Ministry of India said Naveen was killed in “shelling”, there were reports that the 4th year medical student of Kharkiv National Medical University was shot dead by the Russian troops when he was standing in front of a grocery shop to buy some stuff.
“With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning. The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
He added that Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is calling in the Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate India’s demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other war-hit areas.
“Similar action is also being undertaken by our Ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine,” the MEA spokesperson added in the tweet.
Naveen’s friends and acquaintances, however, had a different tale to tell about the way he was killed.
They said that he was “shot dead” by the Russian soldiers at around 10.30 am near a grocery shop, implying that it was a targeted killing and not death due to indiscriminate bombing.
Kharkiv, on the eastern side of Ukraine, is situated barely 40 kms from the Russian border and has been witnessing intense fighting.
The city hosts a large number of Indian students because of the big number of medical colleges there.
The killing of Naveen has increased tensions and anxiety among a large number of parents in India whose wards are still stuck in the conflict zone.
There have been a number of distress messages from the stuck students, explaining the problems they are facing in the danger zone.
A number of video messages are being sent by those students, pleading with the government of India to take urgent steps to rescue and evacuate them.
Earlier today, the government advised all Indian citizens in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, to “urgently” leave the city which has been surrounded by the Russian forces in a bid to capture it.
“All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available,” said the Advisory tweeted by the Indian Embassy in Ukraine.