kdsingh80 Posted September 26, 2011 Report Share Posted September 26, 2011 Forty-year-old Sukhdev Singh made a decent amount of money working in his pharmacy in his village in Punjab. Sukhdev hails from Khassa Village near Jalandhar. After being lured by dubious travel agents, he put everything at stake for better monetary opportunities in Iraq. Today, his family says he is being forced to clear bomb-shells and ammunition from barren lands in war-ravaged Iraq. Sukhdev does not have a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree or even a diploma. He assisted a pharmacist for about three years in Jalandhar, when he decided he knew enough to open his own shop in his village. "About five years ago, my husband opened a pharmacy here. He could read prescriptions and knew enough to give out medicines. He earned about Rs 6,000 to 7,000 here. Then one day in January this year, he met with a person in the village, who told him he knew a travel agent based in Chandigarh who could send him to Iraq to earn Rs 27,000 a month," says his wife Jaswinder Kaur. Sukhdev jumped at the 'opportunity' and mortgaged his house and shop to raise the Rs 1,80,000 demanded by the travel agent. Today, he is stuck in an isolated field, clearing bomb-shells and doing 16-18 hour shifts of forced labour. "When he can call, he always cries saying that they do not even get decent food. He has not been paid in months despite the labour. I have not received even one rupee since he went away," Kaur says. Sukhdev's story is one of many Punjabi youths stuck in Iraq today. The plight of about 40 men like Sukhdev came to the fore, after their families put in a police complaint in July this year. Some families also approached the ministry of external affairs saying that these boys were duped by travel agents based in Punjab, who allegedly sold them to private contractors in Al Najaf for $ 500 each. http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-i-have-mortgaged-everything-i-own-for-his-freedom/20110926.htm 0 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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