Ten Indian youths duped by travel agents return to their homes in Punjab from Iran

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Amritsar, Oct.14 (ANI): After being duped by travel agents, ten Punjabi youngsters managed to return to their homes here from Iran after a year long traumatic experience.

Eight youngsters from Kotla Gujjran and two hailing from Bhangwan village in Amritsar had been allegedly taken to Iran a year ago by the travel agent, who had assured them of better opportunities and a year's work permit in Iran.

Their dreams of a trip to El Dorado and making it big were devastated once they learnt that they had to work for a construction company and that too as labourers without salary.

"The travel agent had taken one lakh rupees (2172 US dollars) on the pretext of taking us to Iran with an agreement of job for two years. On reaching Jalandhar, we were issued passports with a stamp of one month of tourist visa. On confronting the agent they said that everything was all right and that our visas had been extended. But on reaching Iran we found out that our visas were not extended and we had to face a lot problems over there," said Gurmeet Singh, a victim.

Further he mentioned that they were not given proper food and were almost treated like animals, forced to work from dawn to late hours in the night.

They were allegedly threatened that they would be sent to Pakistani jails if they dared to reveal to officials or any outsider about their situation.

The group of youngsters were sent on Iran on 17th December 2008 and remained in despair for months. They were released only after the intervention of the foreign ministry and the Punjab Government.

"As per a directive of Punjab Government, any travel agent who tries to pamper and exploit any youth in the name of giving him a job abroad will be punished," said Bikram Singh Majitha, a functionary of Akali Dal, Amritsar.

He also added to say that their woes had doubled due to turbulence in Iran after the presidential polls, as the administration got suspicious about the foreign nationals residing in Iran. (ANI)

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