M A I N   N E W S

Back from Iraq, Punjab boys tell tale of humiliation, deceit
Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Batala, June 22
The six boys, who returned to their homes in Gurdaspur district yesterday, faced humiliation and cheating at the hands of the officials of the construction company they worked for in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Among the six boys to return home is Shamsher Singh of Salo Chahal village, located on the Batala-Jalandhar road. He has been left thoroughly disenchanted with the manner in which he was treated by his employers, an Iraqi company.

“My travel agent promised me moon when I gave him Rs 80,000. I had taken a loan from a commission agent at an exorbitant rate of interest to raise the money.

“He told me that I would earn huge money. I spoke to my parents who are not well educated. Subsequently, I fell into the trap. The other boys, who went with me, paid anything between Rs 80,000 to Rs 2 lakh,” disclosed Shamsher.

Shamsher’s parents work as labourers to eke out a living. Continuing his pathetic tale, he said, “Both the working and living conditions there were appalling. My company was located near an under-constructed football stadium in a suburb of Baghdad. At the stadium, Punjabi boys were working at $ 400 a month as against the salary of $ 1200-1400,” he disclosed.

“As we were getting used to our pathetic conditions, the worse happened. The news of the rebels surrounding the area where we were working spread like a wild fire. We were told that the USA was ready to air strike some cities in Iraq, particularly those taken over by the ISIS rebels. This left us panicky and we decided to pack our bags and return to our native villages,” he revealed.





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