The two teenagers from the district, who were stranded in Colombia since September after they were caught by the immigration authorities for illegally entering the country without visa, have finally been repatriated.
The boys, Manjot Singh and Harjeet Singh, both 16, reached home on Friday evening. The Indian embassy in Bogota had to pay a hefty sum for their return. Both of them had travelled on the Delhi-Addis Ababa-Sao Paulo-Quito air route in the first week of September and illegally entered Columbia by road.
Harjit Singh belongs to Jalalpur and Manjot Singh is from Tahli village of Dasuya subdivision. After much persuasion, the families sent air tickets earlier this month but only up to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The embassy, which had flown the boys to Quito, on learning that tickets were not fully paid, called them back to Bogota. This not only resulted in delay in repatriation but also cost the embassy `3.38 lakh which it wants to recover from the families.
The boys had entered Colombia from Ecuador and their parents insisted that they should be sent back to Ecuador from where they would make their own arrangements.
The Mission authorities spoke to their parents several times to send air tickets for their wards' return to India but the latter insisted that the boys be sent to Ecuador. Finally under pressure from the local administration, they sent the confirmed tickets up to Quito.
“Harjit had gone abroad for sightseeing. We are happy that he is back,” said Surjit Singh, Harjit’s father. Manjot's father Lakhwinder Pal Singh said the family was relieved on the boy's return.
They alleged that the embassy complicated the situation which led to delay in repatriation.