Till a few days ago, Bhinderjit Singh of Sidhana village of Bathinda was avoiding the Iraqi army so that, being an illegal immigrant, he was not deported to India, but now he wants to return immediately as there is trouble in Iraq.
His relatives here claim that Bhinderjit and many others like him have been made hostage by the employer company as they depend on it to arrange the required documents to return.
Bhinderjit, who works as a fitter with the construction company, AAG Engineers Group, had also worked at Guru Gobind Singh oil refinery, Bathinda, as a construction worker.
Bhinderjit was deported to India by the Iraqi army in early 2013; but, he again went there in September last year.
His cousin Mandeep Singh claims that the employer company had taken Bhinderjit and many others like him hostage. Talking to HT on phone, he says, “They all wanted to come back and stopped working two days ago. But the company cut their electricity supply to force them to resume work. We want the government to make arrangements to bring them back.”
“Bhinderjit is an illegal immigrant like many others working in Iraq. The country offered only two months’ visa to him when he first went there in 2012. He kept working there after the visa expired. One day, he was arrested by the Iraqi army and they deported him after keeping him in jail for a month,” says Mandeep.
Bhinderjit again went to Iraq in September 2013 on a twomonth visa and had no plans to return till recently. But the tension in Iraq has changed his mind and he wants to come back now. “There are many like Bhinderjit working illegally in Iraq and the employer companies know it. These companies can make them hostage as only the employer can make temporary visa arrangements by fake paper work for these illegal immigrants to come back to India. Now, they have been using this tool to keep them hostage and make them work,” says Mandeep. Cousins Karam Singh and Gagandeep Singh from Dhapali and Mari Mehraj villages, respectively, have also been working in Iraq. “They are safe. They have not yet made up their minds, but we have told them to come back to avoid any trouble,” says Jaswant Singh, father of Karam Singh.