Eleven Indian goldsmiths who were stranded in Iran after their employer seized their passports returned to Kolkata on Wednesday following the intervention of anon-governmental organisation and the Ministry of External Affairs, The Indian Express reported. One person is still in Iran due to a visa problem and is expected to return on Saturday.
The goldsmiths, who are from Hooghly, Cooch Behar, Howrah and Burdwan districts in West Bengal, had gone to Iran in February but their travel documents were allegedly seized by their employer, a member of the NGO National Anti-Trafficking Committee told PTI. The men were taken to Iran on a tourist visa.
“After reaching Iran, things were fine in the initial months,” said Sheikh Moinuddin, one of the people who returned on Wednesday. “After two months, the salary was stopped. When we asked for money, our food was also stopped and we had no money to fend for ourselves.”
Moinuddin said the group then found the mobile app of the National Anti-Trafficking Committee and sent a message requesting help, reported The Indian Express.
Chairperson of the National Anti-Trafficking Committee Sheikh Jinnar Ali said the men were rescued from Chabahar and brought to Tehran with the help of an Indian Embassy official, reported Mumbai Mirror. “We received information about them initially through a video call and informed all necessary authorities including Ministry of External Affairs, Embassy of Iran in India and PMO [Prime Minister’s Office].”
Gyasuddin Mullick, who had helped the men get to Iran, claimed he did not know about the employer’s intentions. “I had taken money from them, about Rs 35,000 each, for visa and other expenses,” Mullick said. “The main agent was in Dubai, I shouldn’t have believed him. I myself was stuck there.”