Malayali held for ransom in Armenia, family appeals for govt intervention

Vishnu. Photo: Special arrangement, Canva

Thrissur: Vishnu, a young man from Thrissur's Irinjalakuda, is being held captive for ransom in Armenia, his mother alleged on Monday. Geetha Mukundan, Vishnu's mother and resident of Peruvallipadam in Irinjalakuda, has lodged a complaint with the authorities, stating her son's life is in danger.

According to the complaint submitted to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, NORKA office and Social Justice Minister R Bindu, Vishnu travelled to Armenia on February 19 with the help of a person named Sharuq from Irinjalakuda. The family paid Sharuq Rs 6,00,000 in instalments for preliminary expenses and Rs 2,85,000 for his visa and ticket. They realised that he was going to Armenia only after receiving the visa. Upon arrival, Vishnu found employment at a hostel in Yerevan. Besides Sharuq, Malayalis named Muhammad (Kozhikode), Shibu (Kannur), and Ameer (Thiruvananthapuram) were also staying there.

Muhammad, who had visted Georgia, allegedly forced Vishnu into signing a consent form transferring hostel's management rights to him. He led Vishnu to believe that he was merely transferring the rights to ensure that Vishnu can manage the hostel in his absence. Due to language barriers, Vishnu was unaware of the document's contents. Muhammad, Sharuq and Shibu eventually deserted Vishnu at the hostel.

Complaint submitted to Social Justice Minister R Bindu. Photo: Special arrangement

Following the cessation of hostel operations due to mismanagement, the building owner, identified as 'Arggeesh,' reportedly took Vishnu captive on June 11 and demanded ransom. The captors initially demanded Rs 1,20,000 daily. They harmed him and threatened to kill him without the money. Despite the family sending Rs 1,50,000 from India, the captors are now demanding an additional Rs 3 lakh, Geetha said in the complaint.

She also stated that since the hostel's closure, Sharuq and others have demanded Rs 30 lakh rupees from the family. The family has decided to file a complaint with the Ministry of External Affairs regarding this matter.

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