Govt rescues 12 Indians stuck in Libya over fake jobs
NEW DELHI: The National Minorities Commission and the ministry of external affairs have facilitated the rescue and return of 12 men – mostly Sikhs – who were lured with dreams of a well paying job by an agent in Dubai and then dumped as bonded labour at a construction site in Libya.
On arrival in Delhi, the men, most hailing from Punjab, shared their traumatic stories as they were made to work for 15 hours a day, not paid any remuneration and beaten up if they refused to comply. Most of these men had lost their jobs during the pandemic and had been doing odd jobs as mechanics and labourers before they left India in batches between December and January.
NCM chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura in a press conference on Sunday said the case brings into focus the problem of poor labourers and jobless youth from states like Punjab falling into the trap of agents and ending up as victims of fake job rackets. He said the commission will be issuing a national advisory on the issue to states in the week ahead. Lalpura also sought that the Punjab government take measures to prevent youth from being lured by such agents.
Lalpura said the NCM forwarded the representation to MEA on February 6, requesting that the government bring back the youngsters who were illegally taken to Libya by an agent through a fake job racket. Indian embassy in Tunisia was also contacted and a rescue operation followed. The 12 men returned in two batches between February and March. Of the 12, one person hails from a village in Bihar and another from Himachal Pradesh.
Jamaldin (56) from Punjab said he was promised a job in Dubai for a reasonable remuneration. “All of us took loans to bear the cost of travel. Each person spent anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 70,000. On reaching Dubai we were told that there was no work yet and we could either return to India or go to Libya. We chose to go to Libya as we needed work. Once there, we were dumped at a camp of labourers at a construction site where the private contractor made us work without salary. We were also not provided with proper food, threatened and beaten up,” he said.