Naveen was killed when he stepped out to fetch water, says relative, concerned parent wants Modi to broker a ceasefire

07:48 PM Mar 01, 2022 | PTI |

Haveri: Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagouda, India’s first tragic casualty in the ongoing military offensive in Ukraine, died when he stepped out of a bunker to fetch food, his relative said, while another concerned parent wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure a ceasefire in the eastern European nation till their wards return home safe and sound.


Allegations also cropped up against the local BJP MP that he did not respond to the SOS calls from the stranded students, a charge denied by the elected representative.

Naveen was killed when he stepped out of his bunker to exchange currency and fetch some food, his uncle Ujjanagouda claimed.

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 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.


According to Pooja Praharaj, a student coordinator in Kharkiv, soon after the attack, an Ukrainian woman picked up Naveen’s phone and said its owner was being moved to a morgue.

”He lived near the Governor’s House and had been standing in the queue for food. Suddenly there was an air strike that blew up the Governor’s House and he was killed,” Praharaj told NDTV.

The Ukrainian woman picked up his phone. ”Speaking from his phone, she said the owner of this phone is being taken to the morgue,” she added.

The tragic news of their child in a faraway country came as a blow to the parents back home, even as Gnanagouda’s Chalageri residence in this district slipped into gloom upon receiving the information. A large number of people thronged the house to console the bereaved family.

Further, Gnanagouda alleged that no one from the Indian Embassy reached out to the stranded Indian students in Kharkiv, where his son, pursuing medicine was killed in shelling amid the Russian military offensive.

Learning about the tragedy, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai called up Gnanagouda over phone and expressed sorrow. He assured the mourning father that he would make every effort to bring his son’s mortal remains back to India. He also told him that he is in touch with the officials in the external affairs ministry.

The bereaved father told Bommai that Naveen had called him in the morning as well. Daily, his son used to ring him up at least two to three times, he told the chief minister.

In a tweet, Bommai expressed shock over Naveen’s death. ”My deep condolences to the family. May his soul rest in peace. We are constantly in touch with MEA and will make all efforts to bring back his mortal remains,” he said.

The death sent a shockwave among other parents from Chalageri whose children are also pursuing medical courses in Kharkiv, as they now fear for their wards’ well-being.

Srinivas, whose son Praveen is pursuing his medical course in Ukraine, appealed to Prime Minister Modi to bring the students back from the Russian border, which is very close to Kharkiv.

”My son and others are in the bunker. They are all saying that they will survive only if they are brought back or else they will all die. Let our Prime Minister speak to both sides (Russia and Ukraine) and ensure a ceasefire till our children return. This effort is required, which no one is doing,” Srinivas said. Another parent, Sridhar Krishna Murthy was upset that the sitting BJP MP from Haveri-Gadag Shivakumar Udasi was not responding to their calls.

”Suman (his son) has been calling Shivakumar Udasi for the past one week but he was not attending the call. My son even messaged him but there was no response. Today morning also, he rang up Udasi,” Murthy said. According to Murthy, there are three students from Chalageri and after Naveen’s death they were concerned about the condition of their children.

”We don’t know what condition they are in. If they return, we will be thankful. We have left it to God to protect our children,” Murthy said.

Venkatesh, whose son is also stuck in a bunker in Kharkiv, appealed for Modi’s help to bring back the Indian students stuck in the war-torn region.

”We request the Prime Minister to help in bringing back our children. This is not a big thing for Modi. If he makes up his mind, he can make it possible,” Venkatesh said.

According to him, students from Karnataka holed up in a bunker did not have food and water for the past three days.

Refuting Murthy’s allegations, Udasi said he in fact showed the parents that he had spoken to their wards.

”The parents charge that I did not receive the calls by their children. I showed how I spoke to them and made WhatsApp call to them. I showed them how I am in touch with Suman and others,” he told PTI.

”I am not blaming anybody for what they said but I am in touch with the boys and girls stuck there. I am also speaking to Union Minister Pralhad Joshi. I could not reach out to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. I am trying my best to get the body of Naveen back to India,” he added.

The Congress’ state unit hit out at the ruling BJP over the issue, with former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah alleging Naveen died due to its failure. Condoling Naveen’s demise, Siddaramaiah tweeted, ”A young medical student with bright dreams had a long journey in saving lives, but was cut short due to failure of @BJP4India. Sufficient warnings were given by Russia and the govt had a lot of time to prepare for evacuation. Unfortunately, Naveen had to pay the price for govt’s ignorance.” He said the PMO and the MEA should leverage all their diplomatic relations with various countries, and take all urgent steps for the safe return of all Indians. Attack on civilians is of grave concern and India should also take this issue with Russia to honour all international agreements, he said.


Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.