India News

Seven Punjabi youths stranded in Iraq return after eight months of struggle

Phagwara,-Seven people who were stranded in Iraq for eight months after they were lured into going abroad over promises of jobs have returned to the country, Punjab Police said on Saturday. Randeep, Baljeet, Saurav, Sandeep from Phillaur’s Shotran village, Amandeep from Attan village in the same district, Komaljit from Phagwara’s Kaulsar locality, and Pravjot Singh from Bholath landed in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport at 5 am on Saturday after the central government intervened to bring them back.
Police said all seven lost their jobs after only a month of working there.
Phillaur Deputy Superintendent of the Police (DCP) Phillaur Davinder Singh Attri and Phagwara DSP Manjit Singh said police booked two people— Neelam Rani and Ram Labhaya—for the cheating (Section 420) and criminal breach of trust (Section 406), as well as sections of the Punjab Professionals Regulations Act, 2014, in connection with the case on May 30.
Of the two, Rani lives in Iraq. The two are suspected to have charged more than Rs 2 lakh from each youngster in December last year to send them abroad. Mohan Lal, whose son Komaljit was one of the seven, said that a travel agent in Chhokran village sent his son to Iraq, but provided him with no documents when he got there. His son was stranded there without a job for 6-7 months, leaving him dependent on the goodwill of his Punjabi friends still living there, he said. Additionally, he was penalised USD 20 for each day he was stuck.
“Seven more youths are still stuck there,” he said.
The development comes after Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal met Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar recently to push for their return.