Malayali detained in Armenia released after Indian Embassy's intervention

Vishnu. Photo: Special arrangement, Canva

Yerevan: Vishnu, a young man from Thrissur's Irinjalakuda, who was allegedly held captive for ransom in Armenia was released on Tuesday. Vishnu, the son of Chembil Mukundan and Geetha from Peruvallippadam, Irinjalakuda, was detained by the owner of a building in Armenia over a financial dispute. The owner had threatened to kill the youth without the ransom.

Geetha Mukundan, Vishnu's mother and resident of Peruvallipadam in Irinjalakuda, has lodged a complaint with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, NORKA office and Social Justice Minister R Bindu, stating her son's life is in danger. Following an investigation by the Indian Embassy and NORKA, the building owner allowed Vishnu to leave.

KV Abdul Khader, the chairman of the Pravasi Welfare Board, spoke with Vishnu, who reported that he was safe in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, with friends and expected to settle the matter soon.
Vishnu had reached Armenia with the help of a person named Sharuq from Irinjalakuda. Vishnu left for Armenia on February 19 and was employed at a hostel in Yerevan. Along with Sharuq, other Malayalis, including Muhammad, Shibu, and Amir, were also present at the hostel.

Muhammad 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.
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.

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