Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh helps rescue girl held captive in Gulf country

She was beaten and her passport was also confiscated



File
File

By PTI

Published: Wed 7 Sep 2022, 5:47 PM

One of India's greatest bowlers turned politician recently played a significant role in rescuing 21-year-old girl who was being "illegally held" in a Gulf country.

Asked about the incident, Harbhajan told PTI, "This wouldn't have been possible without the help of Indian Embassy and our Ambassador. His contribution has been invaluable.

"As far as my intervention is concerned, this Rajya Sabha seat is to help people in need and a daughter of our country was in need. I just did my job. It was very nice of Indian Embassy to call me up and inform that Kamaljeet is back home in Punjab, safe and secured."

The victim - Kamaljeet Kaur - who is now back in her native place, and her father Sikandar Singh, spoke to PTI about their week-long ordeal and how travel and placement agents in Punjab are bleeding poor families financially with a promise of a better future.

Kamaljeet was supposed to join an Indian family but was moved to an office straight from the airport.

"My father is daily labourer and we are a family of three. Being the eldest of three siblings, I wanted to help my father and I had approached a local agent named Jagseer Singh, who promised me the job of a cook with a hindi-speaking Indian family," an emotionally exhausted Kamaljeet started narrating her harrowing story.

"It was towards the end of last month that I left (India). I was told that if my service turns out to be satisfactory, I will be employed either in Singapore or Australia where there is a big Punjabi population.

"But the moment, I touched down and left the airport, I could sense that there was something wrong when I saw the chaperone who accompanied us," she said.

Kamaljeet was taken to a place by an agent named 'Arban' and when she was asked to put up in a big office room, she understood that she had been duped by the agent.

"There were two ladies Maryam and Seema who were in charge of around 20 women, all Indians, working over there. They first took my passport and sim card. No explanation was given as to why. However Kamaljeet mustered courage and bought a new sim card to get in touch with her family and narrated her nightmare.

"I was scared and I told my father that these are not right people and I needed to get out. There were so many distressed girls held captive. I felt so helpless but as luck would have it, they came to know that I have bought a local sim. I was beaten with a stick that day."

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Her father Sikandar meanwhile contacted the local agent Jagseer, who then threatened him and asked for Rs 2.5 lakh to release his daughter's passport. "They had beaten up my daughter. I was scared for her safety. So I mortgaged my house and loaned Rs 2.5 lakh and gave it to agent," Sikandar said.

It was then that the father got in touch with his brother, who knew a local political leader.

"An acquaintance of my uncle in Punjab knew MP Harbhajan Singh ji. When he was told about me, he immediately got in touch with Indian Embassy.

"I can't thank Harbhajan ji enough. After he called up, I got a call from Indian Embassy. Just three hours from my flight on September 3, they handed me my passport and sim card." Kamaljeet said the officials from the Indian embassy gave her a lot of confidence.

"The embassy officials also checked on me to enquire if I had reached home safely. But my appeal to government is to ensure that all those girls, whose passports are confiscated and made to work against their wishes should be rescued from slavery."


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