The Wire Staff
The Wire Staff

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External Affairs
7 hours ago

New Delhi: The Indian national who received bullet injuries in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv told The Wire that he was caught in the gunfight while he was in a taxi, after having been turned back from a checkpoint while attempting to leave Kyiv and reach Lviv.

Thirty-one-year-old Harjot Singh has told The Wire that he was trying to leave Kyiv with his friends on February 27. Singh and his friends passed through multiple checkpoints but at the third point, they were not allowed to go ahead and were forced to turn back. As he returned to Kyiv in a cab with three others, Singh was caught in sudden shooting and fighting.

He next woke up on the evening of March 2, at a Kyiv hospital. He was told by doctors that he lay unconscious and injured on the streets for at least four or five hours before he was brought to the hospital.

Singh later learned that he had received three bullet wounds – two to his leg and back – and one which grazed his chest and hurt his right arm. Miraculously, the three bullets missed important organs.

Singh tells The Wire that he is at present at the Kyiv City Clinical Hospital Number 17.

At the special media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the ministry had seen media reports Harjot Singh. “We are trying to see which hospital he is in,” Bagchi said, adding that the embassy was trying to get an update on his status.

On March 1, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said that all Indian nationals have left the Ukrainian capital.

The Wire had reported on how claims by the Indian government that there are “no Indians in Kyiv” have proven untrue as there are quite a few Indians left in the city, from where Indian embassy officials have also departed.

Singh, who is originally from Chhattarpur Extension in New Delhi, told The Wire that he does not know what happened to his friends and has not been able to contact them since coming to.

When hospital workers gave Singh his phone, he switched it on and found that his family had called him 649 times. In Delhi, he shares a home with his parents, brother, sister-in-law and their children. He has a sister who is married and lives in Punjab.

Singh says that he has managed to speak to his family, but that he desperately and actively tried to reach the embassy after regaining consciousness.

“I searched my contacts and for numbers on the internet. I did not receive a positive response from any one. I made more than 100 calls to the Indian embassy,” he says.

Eventually, Indian officials did contact him, he says.

On being asked if he had received assurances from the embassy, he says, “One or two times.” He then adds, “I told them that god has not taken me. So I need help from Indian government to get out of here. I have got a second life and I want to live it.”

Singh says he has not been contacted by the Delhi government either.

Singh, who is an information technology specialist, had enrolled himself at the International European University in Kyiv for higher studies. He had been in Ukraine for one year. Now, doctors tell him that while he is in danger, his recovery is a longterm concept.

“They have said this is not a short term recovery case. It’s long. They said, ‘If you want you can go to your country and continue treatment’,” Singh says.

Unable to walk and wheelchair-bound, Singh says he can hear shelling and gunshots through the day and night from his hospital bed. Health workers there are under a lot of stress, he adds.

“I appeal to the Indian government to help me cross the border. They [the government] have all resources. I request them to provide me with someone to help me cross the border in a wheelchair. I am ready to pay for the salary of such a person, a day’s salary or whatever is required,” he says.

At the special media briefing, MEA spokesperson Bagchi said that all personnel of the Indian embassy in Kyiv are located in other parts of Ukraine at present and with Kyiv being a conflict zone, it was proving to be difficult for a team to physically reach the capital city to check on Harjot.

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