More tales of inhuman treatment in Iraq

More tales of inhuman treatment in Iraq

These youths will present before a two-member committee on September 7 evidence in the shape of pictures showing them involved in risky tasks, much against their wishes,  of clearing fields of misfired and other bomb shells in Iraq.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh is looking into the matter and has facilitated the return of many of these youths. Some of them are awaiting return at the Indian Embassy in Iraq for want of funds. Many of them do not have tickets to fly back.

These youths, essentially from the rural areas in Punjab, said they were beaten with batons on refusal to work in fields and deserts. Mandeep Kumar and Narinder Singh said the promise of a monthly $700 was scaled down arbitrarily to $300, despite the high risk involved in the task they were entrusted to carry out. The Punjab police have registered at least five cases against travel agents in the state. Some youths were burnt with cigarette butts on refusal to work. Food and good accommodation were hardly forthcoming in the places they worked.

Some youths alleged that Sikhs were asked to shave their hair. Most of these youths belong to not-so-well-off families in rural Punjab. Their families had taken loans, sold jewellery to arrange for jobs and travel of their sons in Iraq.

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