4 Pun­jabis stuck in Armenia re­turn

Say life was hell there as they were job­less and had to go with­out food for days

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - News - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

KA­PURTHALA: Four Pun­jabis who were duped by travel agents and were stranded in Armenia for the past four months reached Pun­jab on Satur­day evening.

A group of seven travel agents fraud­u­lently sent Har­man­jeet Singh of Nadala town, Jatin­der Singh of Am­rit­sar district, Shamsher Singh of Bho­lath and his wife Pinki to Armenia on a tourist visa in De­cem­ber last year after promis­ing a work visa in ex­change of ₹4 lakh each.

The four landed at the Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Delhi on Satur­day morn­ing where they were re­ceived by San­grur MP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state pres­i­dent Bhag­want Mann. They had shared a video on the so­cial me­dia on Fe­bru­ary 2 seek­ing help from Mann.

KA­PURTHALA: Four Pun­jabis who were duped by travel agents and were stranded in Armenia for the past three months reached Pun­jab on Satur­day evening.

A group of seven travel agents fraud­u­lently sent Har­man­jeet Singh of Nadala town, Jatin­der Singh of Am­rit­sar district, Shamsher Singh of Bho­lath and his wife Pinki to Armenia on a tourist visa in De­cem­ber last year after promis­ing a work visa in ex­change of ₹4 lakh each.

The four landed at the Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Delhi on Satur­day morn­ing where they were re­ceived by San­grur MP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state pres­i­dent Bhag­want Mann. They had shared a video on the so­cial me­dia on Fe­bru­ary 2 seek­ing help from Mann.

“We went in De­cem­ber with a prom­ise of work per­mit. Within a few days, we got to know they didn’t have work for us. We were told if we get more peo­ple to go to Armenia, we will get ₹50,000 as a com­mis­sion. My dreams have been shat­tered. The youths who want to go abroad should ver­ify the cre­den­tials of travel agents,” said Har­man­jeet, adding that gov­ern­ment should ar­rest the agents and re­fund their money.

An­other vic­tim Shamsher Singh said: “They lured us and promised jobs with a monthly salary of ₹40,000. But once we reached Armenia, there was no work. We were with­out food for many days... life was a hell there.”

“Four peo­ple who were stuck in Armenia have reached Delhi to­day. I thank the min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs and Sushma ji who worked hard. The In­dian em­bassy took care of them and ar­ranged tick­ets for their re­turn,” said Mann.

On Tues­day, Ka­purthala po­lice reg­is­tered three FIRs against Armenia-based travel agent Harpreet Kaur, Gur­dev Singh, Param­jeet Kaur, Par­min­der Kaur of Dhilwan, Koma­ldeep of Jan­di­ala and Jaswinder Singh of Beas un­der Sec­tion 420 (cheat­ing) and Sec­tion 13 of the Pun­jab Pre­ven­tion of Hu­man Smug­gling Act, 2012.

The po­lice have so far ar­rested three travel agents in the case.

After HT’s Fe­bru­ary 7 re­port, ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj con­tacted the In­dian am­bas­sador in Armenia and asked him to help the stuck In­di­ans. She also talked to chief min­is­ter Capt Amarinder Singh de­mand­ing ar­rest of the travel agents. The CM as­sured Swaraj of strict ac­tion against the ac­cused.

Speak­ing to news agency ANI in Delhi, Mann said: “I have raised the is­sue in Par­lia­ment sev­eral times. Sushma ji has also asked the Pun­jab gov­ern­ment to frame laws for travel agents. I am told the same agent sent seven more peo­ple to Armenia on Jan­uary 31.” He said if the youth get jobs within In­dia, they would not abroad.

HT PHOTO

■ San­grur MP Bhag­want Mann with those who re­turned from Armenia on Satur­day.

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