Srinagar: Promised a security guard’s job in Dubai, thirteen Kashmiri youths gathered a small fortune and spent a month realising that they had been well and truly duped.
Six of the youths are now returning home, after a month, while seven are still stuck in Dubai. Nine of the youths are from Srinagar city. Two each are from Pampore and Anantnag.
The youths told Kashmir Reader that they were promised a job in Dubai by Srinagar-based Al Safeer International Consultancy. All 13 of them applied for the job at the consultancy’s office in Zaldagar area of Srinagar.
“I came to know about the job offer from a friend. I went to the consultancy and they told me that they can offer me the job of a security guard in Dubai,” said Farhat Amin, 27, who lives in Nai Sadak area of Srinagar.
A Class 12 pass, Farhat had no job when he applied for the one in Dubai.
“They told me that I would get a salary of forty-thousand in value of Indian rupees, and the accommodation charges will be borne by the company itself. But for this, we were told to pay in advance ninety-thousand rupees,” Farhat told Kashmir Reader.
Farhat said that he and the other youths were told that once they get their air ticket and visa, they will have to pay forty-thousand rupees more.
“In October we received our tickets and collected our visa. On the 9th of the month we landed in Dubai,” Farhat said.
The consultancy, he said, told them that an agent will be at the Dubai airport to receive them, and that they will not have to pay a single penny till they join the company two days later.
“There was no one to receive us at the airport. We called the consultancy in Srinagar. They told us that they were not in contact with the agent at that time,” Farhat said.
Farhat said that they were given an address and told to go there on their own.
“When we reached that place, a person welcomed us and took us to a hotel, where we stayed for the night. Next morning we were shifted to Ajman, where we were supposed to join the company,” Farhat narrated.
They waited for more than a month, but there arrived no job or job offer.
Farhat said that they were given a single room to stay in.
“All thirteen of us were given a single room to stay. When we raised the query with the man who met us, he said that some top official of the company was out of station and once he returns, we will be taken for a medical check-up and subsequently we can join duties,” Farhat said.
The youths were given assurance that their joining date will be considered from the day they were supposed to join—11th October.
In the meanwhile, the group got in touch with a few Kashmiris who were settled in Dubai.
“We got a call last week that some Kashmiri youths had been duped and they were helpless in the Ajman area,” Iqbal Buchh, a financial planning manager from Srinagar who is settled in Dubai, told Kashmir Reader over phone.
“When we verified, we found that all of them had been given a tempered employment visa. The visa they posses does have the employment visa stamp, but it is actually a visitor visa valid for one month only,” Iqbal said, adding, “They have been duped and it is completely a fraud.”
Though such cases are common, Iqbal said, he had not witnessed such a case where “tempering has been done on such a high level”.
“After many days of mediation, somehow a relative of the owner managed to pay for the return tickets of six persons, while seven people are still lingering here,” Iqbal said.
The Kashmiri youths belong to poor families and had to raise the money for the job at huge personal cost.
“I had to sell the gold at my home for this job. We have been destroyed,” rued another of the victims over phone in a dejected voice.
This reporter went to find the consultancy’s office in Zadagar, but could not find one. The shopkeepers around said they did not know of any consultancy.
When this reporter contacted the number of Shaykh Adnan, the person who, as per the victims, was running the consultancy, a person received the phone and identified himself as the brother of Adnan.
“My brother is running Al Safeer International Consultancy but he is sick and cannot talk at this time,” he said and dropped the call.
He later did not respond to repeated calls from this reporter.
The next day, when the number was dialled again, the same person received the call. When asked about the allegations, he said, “It is true that thirteen people have not got the job after our consultancy appointed them in Dubai…. When we came to know about this, my brother, who runs the consultancy, went into shock. He had a stroke a few days ago.”
Without revealing his name, the person said, “We accept that fraud has happened, but you should understand that fraud has happened with us as well. We had another agent in Dubai who duped us.”
“Our family is trying to arrange the money so that we would get them back,” he said. “We have already arranged for the return some and are trying to arrange for others as well.”
The victims speaking from Dubai over phone said that just for their meals, each of them has to spend more than twenty-thousand rupees.
“Each of us has asked for ten-thousand rupees more from our family,” one of the youths said. “Had we a settled job, why would we come to this place for such a small job? You can understand our economic condition that we are not able to arrange even our return tickets.”