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Punjab women rescued from Oman narrate their harrowing ordeal

Women rescued from Muscat coming out of Delhi Airport

Chandigarh: When Neer Kaur (name changed) from Hoshiarpur left for Dubai almost two months ago, she wanted to change the fate of her coming generations. Driving high on the Punjabi dream of making it big abroad, this 35-year-old mother of a little boy went through her worst nightmare.

Siphoned off to Muscat from Dubai by her ‘recruitment’ agent along with 10 others Neer lived off a one-time supply of leftover crumbs and two bottles of water. “We are not educated enough to get a visa the proper way. One of my relatives told us how Dubai wanted well-built Punjabi women as maids and we will be making Rs 50,000 a month. We agreed to do this for some months till I could call my husband there for a job as a construction worker. We told our neighbours that I was going to my brother’s home to help his wife who was expecting a child. As soon as we landed in Dubai they took us to Muscat and the ordeal started. We were all stuffed in a room and given no work when we questioned them, they were furious and even stopped giving us food,”  she recalled while speaking to Indianarrative.com

Neer is one amongst the 15 trafficked women rescued from Oman by Rajya Sabha MP and President World Punjabi Organisation Vikramjit Sahney, who is running ‘Mission Hope’ to reunite Punjabi women stranded in Muscat, with their families. They were daring enough to venture out and work their way up the economic ladder, but ended up as hapless victims of fraud and betrayal

Another victim Rajinder Kaur (name changed) from Moga in Punjab, said,  “I had done a beautician’s course and was promised a job at a parlour but I was made a house maid in Muscat. I was physically and mentally tortured. I would work nonstop for up to 20 hours and would be given food just once as my employers thought I was too fat and lazy. Shattered, I would lie in a dingy corner they would prod me with their feet to check if I was alive. I have three children and it was a desire to see them one last time that kept me alive.”

A distant relative had taken her to a recruitment agent. The tales of horror reveal that all the women went through the same cycle of exploitation wherein they reached the Gulf on visitor or job visas and overstayed. They were then unable to pay the hefty state penalties for overstaying.

Sahney while speaking to Indianarrative.com said that as per his investigation there are 143 illegal agents in Punjab and the list has been shared with the Punjab government. Punjab police would soon constitute a SIT to probe the issue and each girl will file an individual FIR. “The girls will now register individual FIRs in their respective jurisdictions and then those FIRs will be clubbed for a larger probe. We have formed a special team to help the girls and spoken to the DGP who promised an SIT. We are also working on rescuing more girls who are contacting us,” Sahney added.

Also Read: How a Punjab MP came to rescue of girls from state stranded in Muscat