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‘I had lost all hope,’ says Jaipur youth after narrow escape from Saudi

Rathore had gone to Saudi Arabia in October through an agent, Mukesh Singh Chauhan, a resident of Haryana.

jaipur Updated: Jan 31, 2018 21:03 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news,Saudi Arabia,Vikramaditya Singh Rathore
Vikramaditya Rathore (second from right) on his arrival at the IGI airport in Delhi on Wednesday evening.(HT PHOTO)

After a four-month ordeal, Vikramaditya Singh Rathore of Jaipur, who had gone missing in Saudi Arabia, returned home on Wednesday, much to the relief of his family.

Rathore landed at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport on Wednesday evening and was received by his elder brother, Harshvardhan, and some friends and cousins.

“I’m so happy to be back. I had lost all hope of ever returning to India. I will never go back,” said a relieved Vikramaditya en route from Delhi to Jaipur where he lives in Khatipura area.

His parents were eagerly waiting to meet him. “They said ‘come home soon’ when I spoke to them as soon as I landed,” he said.

“I want to thank HT for highlighting my case and the Indian embassy and (Union minister of external affairs) Sushma Swaraj ji for helping me. There are several other Indians stuck there. I hope the government will help them too,” said the 23-year-old.

HT first reported Rathore’s case in December 2017, in response to which external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had tweeted to the Indian ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Javed, and the Indian Embassy to help the family. The embassy then got in touch with Rathore’s family in Jaipur. Some social organisations in Jaipur too had reached out to the family to assist them.

Rathore had gone to Saudi Arabia in October through an agent, Mukesh Singh Chauhan, a resident of Haryana. Chauhan told Rathore he would be employed as a supervisor in a store and would be paid Rs 50,000-60,000 per month.

“Chauhan also took my gold chain at the Mumbai airport when I was leaving. I will pursue the case against him,” said Rathore. His family had filed a case of cheating against Chauhan at Vaishali Nagar police station on December 13, 2017.

Rathore had left for Saudi Arabia through an agency on October 4. He spoke to his family last on October 18 and told them that he was being mistreated. The family had not been able to get in touch with him after that.

“I was taken to some area about 600-700 km from Riyadh and kept in a truck that was converted into a house. My kafeel (employer) made me do menial labour. The kafeel took all my money and documents and phone and I was completely cut off from everyone,” he said.

Vikram said that there were 10 other Indians there and four had managed to escape. “We were given little food and allowed to sleep for only four hours. We did not get any salary,” he said.

“I will advise everyone not go abroad, especially not without the scrutiny of the agents, who often cheat people.”

His father Mahaveer Singh, 60, said they had given Rs 2.5 lakh to Chauhan for getting the documents, passport and visa prepared. Chauhan works for Mumbai based Al-Husaini Travels.

Rathore said that the Indian embassy and Emir (an aristocratic or noble) in Saudi made efforts to get him released.

“Initially, they spoke to my kafeel (employer) to release me but he did not cooperate. Then the emir placed the police to track me and they even filed a case against the kafeel. After that, he agreed to release me.”

The employer left Vikram with the Emir on Saturday and he was brought to the Indian embassy on Tuesday.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 21:03 IST