Veena Bedi of Gurdaspur district returned to Punjab on Friday after being stuck in Kuwait for over a year now. The 45-year-old was sent to Kuwait by a travel agent who lured her with the promise of a high-paying job but then sold her to a Pakistani national.
Among those Veena Bedi owes her homecoming to is Gurdaspur lawmaker Sunny Deol, who took immediate steps to help her after being approached by her family. The actor-turned-politician contacted the External Affairs Ministry, which arranged for her return on Friday.
Sunny Deol's father, Dharmendra, took to Twitter to commend him. "Treat your job as your responsibility, Sunny beta. God bless you," he posted through his official Twitter handle @aapkadharam.
In a similar turn of events, a group of people stranded in Iraq for eight months landed in Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport at 5 am on Saturday. The seven - identified as Randeep Singh, Baljeet Singh, Saurav Singh, Sandeep Singh, Amandeep Singh, Komaljit Singh and Pravjot Singh - were cheated into going to the middle-eastern with promises of gainful employment.
They were brought back after Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal met Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar recently to push for their safe return. Last month, the Youth Akali Dal had pledged to provide return tickets to the youth following an appeal by party general secretary (youth affairs) Bikram Singh Majithia.
"Return of 7 Punjabi youths stranded in #Iran & #Iraq after being cheated by travel agents is a relief. We were trying hard to get them back. But it will amount to nothing if PB govt fails to provide job as promised. Otherwise, they will remain sitting ducks for cheating agents," Ms Badal tweeted soon after receiving the seven at the Delhi airport on Saturday.
Apart from these two leaders, AAP parliamentarian and state party president Bhagwant Mann has been assisting Punjab residents who got stranded in foreign countries after being sent there by unscrupulous travel agents. His Facebook page is flooded with videos of young men seeking his assistance for their safe return.
When 40 Indians were stuck at Iraq's Mosul in 2014, Mr Mann was among the first to raise the issue in parliament and issue a helpline number for aggrieved families.