Four youths returning home from strife-torn Iraq had more trouble in store as the bus they boarded from New Delhi met with an accident at Garhshankar in the wee hours of Tuesday.
About two dozen other passengers were injured while a girl, identified as Chanchal, died in the accident. The injured were admitted to various hospitals in Hoshiarpur, Garhshankar and Nawanshahr.
Gurjit Sahney, 29, who is undergoing treatment at the civil hospital here, said he was part of a group of 180 Indians who were let free on Sunday.
"We worked for a construction company in Karbala. When the trouble began, we were put together in a camp and not allowed to move out. On July 3, there was heavy firing by militants which left damaged the building we were staying in. The security forces, however, countered the offensive. It was a difficult time. We were constantly under threat," recounted Gurjit.
He said the group had to surrender wages in lieu of air tickets. "We were not given proper food. The situation outside was scary. We were left with two options — stay back and wait for the situation to normalise to earn something or return home empty-handed. We chose the second option," he said.
Gurjit said he had paid Rs 1.50 lakh to a travel agent to go to Iraq about three months ago.
Others who returned with him are Sethi Raj of Karimpur Dhiani, Kulwinder Singh of Saroya and Resham Lal of Dasuya.