CHANDIGARH: Punjabi youths working in strife-torn Iraq are having a difficult time trying to return to India as many are without a valid visa. Many of them had visitor visas for Dubai and entered Iraq illegally to seek jobs.
Visas of at least 121 youths from Jalandhar and Fatehgarh Sahib have expired at least two months ago forcing them to stay back in the city of Karbala, about 100 km from Baghdad.
Surviving on minimal food and water for nearly a week, these youths have been locked in a basement by the construction company that illegally employed them.
Humanitarian groups like Punjab Welfare Society of Kuwait allege that the construction company is forcibly detaining the workers as it would have to pay a fine of $500 per person if the government finds out that they have employed migrant labour illegally. That is why the company is asking them to cough up the money for the fine if they want to leave.