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Saudi Arabia releases two of 12 Himachal men held for visa overstay

The matter caught the attention of the government after the wife of one of the stranded persons approached the police for help.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2018 22:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Saudi Arabia,Himachal,visa
The matter caught the attention of the government after the wife of one of the stranded persons approached the police for help.

After frantic efforts, the Saudi Arabian government has released two of the 12 men from Himachal Pradesh, lodged at the deportation centre in Riyadh.

Tanuj Kumar and Devender Kumar, residents of Mandi district, were released by the Saudi Arabian government, after the ministry of external affairs raised the issue, said a government spokesperson here on Tuesday. The spokesperson said that all the stranded men were safe.

The 12 persons had left for Saudi Arabia in July for jobs there. “As per information shared with the state government by RV Prasad, director (Gulf), ministry of external affairs, the Indian embassy in Riyadh has informed that all the 14 Indians, including 12 from Himachal Pradesh were lodged at the Riyadh deportation centre,” the spokesman said.

Of those detained in Riyadh, nine hail from Sundernagar and four are residents of Balh segment of Mandi district. The matter caught the attention of the government after the wife of one of the stranded persons approached the police for help.

Complainant Saroju Kumari had alleged that her husband Harjinder Singh along with 12 others came in contact with an agent Mohammad Asif of Sundernagar.

She alleged that Asif had promised high paying jobs in Saudi Arabia and charged Rs 90,000 for arranging travel documents. He sent 14 Indians, 13 from Himachal and one from Punjab, on a tourist visa for three months and said that the company, where they would be employed, will arrange for a working visa.

She said even though the tourist visa of all had expired, they were not provided working visas and forced to work overtime without incentives.

After the matter came to light, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur had requested Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the matter with Saudi Arabia authorities for their release.

“Onkar Chand from Punjab has already been deported to India. Two citizens namely Tanuj Kumar and Devender Kumar, who belong to Mandi district have been released by their sponsor,” he said.

“The officials from Indian embassy in Riyadh also met the officials concerned of the deportation centre seeking their early repatriation to India. The embassy has informed that it seems all the citizens came illegally to Saudi Arabia in violation of the extant norms,” he said.

The embassy has assured that it will continue to extend all possible help and follow up the matter for their safe repatriation to India.

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 22:49 IST