Amid the deteriorating situation in Ukraine in the wake of the military offensive by Russia, an Indian student was killed in shelling at Kharkiv even as the government sought to scale up ”Operation Ganga” to evacuate stranded Indian citizens from the war-torn country.
“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,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
The student has been identified as Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, 20, who hailed from Karnataka. He was a fourth-year medical student at the Kharkiv National Medical University in Kharkiv.
There were conflicting reports on how he died. Some reports suggested he was killed when he came under fire while moving to the railway station from his apartment. Naveen’s body was identified by his friends.
Senior Congress leader and former UN Under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor said the death of Naveen was an awful tragedy. ”My heart goes out to the family of the victim and the anxious families of all those still stuck in Ukraine. We must do everything possible to get them home,” he tweeted.
The MEA spokesperson said 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 conflict zones. Similar action is also being undertaken by Indian ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine, he added.
The Indian Embassy in Ukraine advised all Indian nationals, including students, to leave Kyiv urgently today preferably by available trains or through any other means available.
Meanwhile, 182 Indian citizens from Ukraine were brought back to India by the 7th evacuation flight as part of the government’s “Operation Ganga”. The special Air India Express flight landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai this morning. Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Narayan Rane received the evacuees, most of them students, at the airport.
The government has also put the IAF on alert to speed up the evacuation process. The IAF is likely to deploy several C-17 aircraft as part of “Operation Ganga”.