Amritsar: When Indian families are receiving the mortal remains of their loved ones, meanwhile, the lack of employment in Punjab is compelling men to look at war-torn Iraq for job opportunities. Of 39 men who got killed in Mosul after being kidnapped by ISIS, 27 belonged to Punjab.
India Today reported the growing unemployment as a reason why men from Punjab are ready to join US and other companies that still work in Iraq and pay good salaries. “Debt-ridden Punjab farmers are selling their lands to send their sons to the middle-eastern and Western Asian countries despite the visible threat,” the report further added.
“We are dying here too. If death comes in Iraq, at least that will be rewarding as we will be able to pay the loan,” a native of Bathinda told India Today requesting anonymity. According to the sources, foreign companies currently working in Iraq and Syria don’t advertise in Indian newspapers after Centre put a ban on travelling to Iraq in 2004.
“We do not recruit people for Iraq but continue to get job queries from the unemployed men from Punjab. US-based companies continue to work in Iraq despite the danger. They are good paymasters. There are people who lure others to get jobs in Iraq despite a ban,” Anil Syal who runs a travel agency Shrinimbarak Travels in Chandigarh told India Today.
Another travel agent, Harvinderjit Singh Sikka said that people in Punjab use illegal means to visit Iraq. Iraq based companies reportedly contact with the shady recruiters, luring men from countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for getting them employed.