A dream journey from Satna district in eastern Madhya Pradesh to Sierra Leone six years ago turned out to be an unending nightmare for Vikas Jagwani, who has been trapped in the West African country.
His father, Purushottam Jagwani, on Friday petitioned the state’s Director General of Police S.K. Raut to intervene for the release of his son and a dozen other youths from other Sindhi families in Madhya Pradesh who are living in similar captivity. The DGP assured the harried father that “a CID (Criminal Investigation Department) inquiry would be held into the matter”.
The youths are believed to be cursing their pursuit of the dream to make a fortune in a faraway land. Jagwani holds Bhopal-based travel agent Jamunadas Vatnani responsible for the plight of his son and the other boys. He allegedly duped the gullible youths into leaving for the African country by promising them lucrative jobs. Jamunadas's son Suresh runs SV Electricals, a chain of business establishments in Sierra Leone. The youths are allegedly under his captivity.
Forget earning money, the duped youths are praying for their very survival in hellish conditions, Jagwani told HT. “There is no news or phone call from the youths. The last we heard was a demand of Rs 25 lakh for their release,” said Jagwanti.
He recalled that one Mumbai youth who managed to return from Sierra Leone, told him of the torture the youths are being subjected to. “They are subjected to electric shocks. When they protest, the employers get them sent to jail by implicating them in false cases,” Jagwani said.
A Sierra Leone news agency had recently reported that owners of SV Electricals use such torture tactics.
Whenever Indian nationals in this country raise the issue of human rights, the employer haughtily proclaims that the Indians working for him are his 'slaves as per an agreement', the news agency said.
Jai Moolchandani, whose brother Ghanshyam, 21, was also held captive, had managed to inform his family back home that he was being subjected to intense torture.
The Moolchandanis arranged for money for his release. He was not paid a penny for the entire period that he worked for the company. “Whenever the youths demand their salaries, they are tortured”, said Moolchandani.
Keemat Rai, the father of Amit Kumar Dasnani, is suffering the same trauma as his son is also enslaved in the same place.