Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal Thursday said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has directed the Indian Embassy in Iraq to take immediate steps to ensure return of seven Punjab based youths stranded in Erbil for the past seven months. Harsimrat, along with family members of the seven youths who belong to Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts of Punjab, met Jaishankar in Delhi.
The Union food processing minister in a statement said the country's Consul General in Iraq, Chandramouli K Kern, was also part of the meeting and briefed the parents of the youths about the steps taken by the Consulate to ensure their well-being. She said the Consul General disclosed that the Embassy staff were in touch with the youths and extending all needed help to them, including financial assistance.
She further said that Kern assured them that more financial assistance would be extended to them as and when required. Jaishankar said the Indian Consulate would take all needed steps to complete legal formalities needed to ensure the return of the youths, Badal said.
She informed the External Affairs Minister that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) would pay for the return tickets to bring the youths back to their homeland. Badal said seven youths had been duped by travel agents who had promised them jobs in Iraq.
She said the agents had taken money to provide the necessary work papers but did not provide any documents to them to make them eligible to work in Iraq. She said the youth had appealed to the state and the central government to repatriate them as well as demanded action against the travel agents who had left them in the lurch without any identity cards.
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