4 TN students in Russia drown in river; families ask govt to retrieve bodies

Chennai: Four students studying medicine at the Volgograd State Medical University in Russia drowned in Volga river in a tragic accident on Sunday. 

The tragic incident has left their families back home in shock and despair.

Ashiq Mohammed

Ashiq Mohammed, Manoj Anand, R Vignesh, and Stephen Lebaku had gone to the river. One person entered the water, and hearing his cries for help, the other three students tried to help him but drowned.

“He was in his final year of medicine and was supposed to finish his studies. It was his dream to become a doctor,” says Mohammad Rafi, bereaved father of Mohamed Ashiq.

“He went out with some friends and they drowned. If the government helps us retrieve the body we can do the last rites.” 

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Stephen Lebaku

Anand Kumar, Stephen’s uncle, told The Hindu that the senior students who had accompanied the deceased students informed the Russian emergency services immediately after the incident.

Stephen’s father, Mohan Kumar Lebaku, said “We have been talking to the Indian embassy in Russia, and have also appealed to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi Palaniswami to get back my son’s body”. He added that the college administration has to take measures to appoint a funeral agent who will collect the death certificates and arrange for flights for the students’ mortal remains to be transported back. 

R Vignesh

R Vignesh’s father reportedly works in Dubai, and his mother Amutha lives back in Thittakudi. His sister studies in Coimbatore. According to reports, Vignesh’s family will visit Cuddalore Collector Chandra Sekhar Sakhamuri on Monday to ask for the government’s help in get Vignesh’s body back home. 

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Manoj Anand

A Anandhan, sub-inspector and father of Manoj, reportedly met the CM with similar request to bring his son’s body home as well as to enquire what really happened that led to their deaths. 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, meanwhile, assured the families that necessary arrangements will be made. 

Ashiq Mohammed, Manoj Anand, R Vignesh were all 22 years old, while Stephen Lebaku was 20. Ashiq was from Dharapuram. Manoj was from Thalaivasal in Salem, and his father works as a police sub-inspector. Vignesh was from Thittakudi in Cuddalore district. Stephen Lebaku was from Chennai.

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