Eight youths from Batala and Gurdaspur districts are reportedly stuck in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur after they were duped by travel agents who promised them jobs in a food packaging company.For the past three weeks, Davinder Singh, Rohit Kumar, Sahil Sharma, Vinod Kumar, Kulbir Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Surinder Pal Singh and Anil Kumar have been putting up in a gurdwara in Kuala Lumpur after making good their escape from a factory, which is 400 km away from the capital. The gurdwara head, Paramjit Singh, who migrated to Malaysia from Batala about 10 years ago, is reportedly known to one of the youths.Each of the youths paid Rs1.7 lakh for the visa and job.
They were assured employment in Maxco Food Industries. The travel agents had reportedly promised them that they would have to work for eight hours a day and all benefits would be provided to them.Speaking to The Tribune over the phone, the youths claimed that a day after they landed in Malaysia on March 16, they were taken to the factory where they were made to work 20-22 hours a day.Gurcharan Singh said: “We were asked to clean washrooms. We were told that we will be paid 1,800 ringgits (nearly Rs29,000). We were beaten up when we refused to work for 20 hours. Three weeks ago when some of us were again beaten up we decided to escape. We took a bus and reached Kuala Lumpur from Johor.
Now we are staying in a gurdwara. We have no money, not even for phone calls to contact our family members.”On April 16, the youths wrote a letter to the Indian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur. Simultaneously, Paramjit Singh got in touch with Gurdaspur-based senior CPI leader Gurmeet Singh Bakhatpura.Bakhatpura then brought the matter to the notice of an aide of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “The ministry officials have assured me that they will intervene and get the youths back to India as soon as possible,” he said.Meanwhile, Gurdaspur SSP Jagdeep Singh Hundal and his Batala counterpart Daljinder Singh Dhillon have launched a search to nab the agents.
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