India trying to bring back 28 Indians ‘duped’ by travel agents

August 10th, 2011 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Indian Embassy in Baghdad is “proactively liaising” with the Iraqi authorities to facilitate the return of 28 Indians who were allegedly duped by unscrupulous travel agents promising them lucrative jobs, but are now subjected to long working hours with poor salaries.

“It is understood that in recent months, a few Punjab-based travel agents encouraged some Indian nationals to go to Iraq, supposedly for working in the army camps there,” Vishnu Prakash, the external affairs ministry’s spokesperson said here.

“However, they were instead employed with a construction company in Najaf and subjected to long working hours with poor salaries. Some twenty-eight of the said Indian nationals have contacted the Indian Embassy in Baghdad requesting help in returning to India,” the spokesperson added.

Prakash said the embassy has since been “proactively liaising with the local and the national authorities in Iraq to facilitate their return. The MEA is also in touch with the government of Punjab and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in the matter, he added.

About 40 youths from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh were sent to Iraq by unscrupulous travel agents with the promise of jobs. However, they were forced to clear battlefields strewn with used missiles, bomb shells and rocket launchers in the violence-torn country, said family members who filed a police complaint in Jalandhar last week.

The youths belonged to Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala in Punjab and Una in Himachal Pradesh. They had to cough up Rs.1.50 lakh to these agents, the families alleged.

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