July 2, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Hoshairpur, Punjab (July 1, 2014): The companies, which hired Indian workers in Iraq’s various parts, barred them from returning home fearing that their construction work would be stalled due to lack of labour.
Revealing this, 52 youths, who returned yesterday, alleged that the company for which they worked was not ready to let them go. It had restricted their movement and they were not allowed to go out. They alleged that in spite of an advisory issued by the Government of India for Indians in Iraq to return, the company officials were not letting them go.
The company for which they worked released their passports and provided them with tickets. However, $90 were deducted from the salary of each of them for it.
The evacuation of 450 Indians stuck near Karbala in Iraq has started and 52 of them reached India Sunday night. They were happy to be home, but felt dejected because their dreams of making big on foreign shores were smashed.
There were 450 Indians in Karbala. They were all working for a construction company building two hospitals on Najaf Road there. Among them were workers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh who were stranded in Karbala, about 110 km from Baghdad.
After the matter was highlighted, the recruitment agents who had sent them to Iraq contacted the workers as well as the company and arranged for their return. Sunny Singh, a youth from Una in Himachal Pradesh, said when the issue made headlines, the agents contacted them and asked them to stay calm and told them that they were arranging for their return.
“They also asked us not to sign any paper given to us by the company and in the meantime the company officials came to us with new agreements to sign, but we refused to sign those papers,” Sunny said.
The company officials told them that they would be sent to India in separate groups. The first group sent back home included 52 Indians but they were also further divided into four groups of 13 each. “They did not give us a fair account of our balance wages and the cost of the air ticket was deducted from the balance salaries of each of us,” he said.
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Related Topics: Iraq Crisis 2014