New Delhi: An Indian student was killed in Kharkiv on Tuesday amid relentless shelling in Ukraine’s second-largest city.
The fourth-year student, Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, was from Haveri, Karnataka.
Manoj Ranjan, Karnataka’s nodal officer overseeing the evacuation, said, “It is very sad,” he said, adding, “We appeal to all parents to keep faith. We will put in all our efforts to ensure students are evacuated safely.”
Gyanagoudar, a final-year medical student at the Kharkiv National Medical University, was hunkering down with fellow students in a bunker. The 21-year-old stepped out to buy food Tuesday morning and was killed standing in line in front of a supermarket grocery store.
Ministry for External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed the student’s death, tweeting: “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.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Gyanagoudar’s father Shekar Gowda. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also spoke to Gowda, saying that he was with the family in their hour of grief.
Bommai said: “It is a big blow. May the almighty bestow eternal peace on Naveen. You (the family) must be brave to bear the tragic happening.”
Bommai said all efforts were being made to “bring the mortal remains of Naveen to India”.
Shekar Gowda was beside himself while informing that he had spoken with Naveen just a few hours ago over phone. “Naveen would call twice or thrice a day,” Gowda said, his voice choking with grief.
Meanwhile, the government has called ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine in India to “reiterate demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and (in) cities in other conflict zones”.
Arindam Bagchi said similar efforts were also being undertaken by Indian ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine.
Foreign Secretary is calling in Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate our 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 our Ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) March 1, 2022
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine put out a fresh advisory Tuesday morning asking citizens to leave Kyiv urgently.
The advisory read: “All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably through available train or through any other means available.”
India’s rescue mission — ‘Operation Ganga’ — is on full steam to evacuate stranded citizens from the war-torn country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rushed four Union ministers Monday to Ukraine’s border countries to better coordinate rescue efforts.
Modi has also called on the Indian Air Force to join rescue efforts in Ukraine, government sources said.
They said, “Leveraging the capacity of our Air Force will ensure that more people can be evacuated quickly. It will also help deliver humanitarian aid efficiently.”
The Prime Minister called on President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday morning and briefed him on the ground situation in Ukraine and on steps taken by his government to help citizens.