construction workers
UP workers who lived in bus in Dubai for two weeks return to India. Picture: Construction workers at Burj Dubai [Representational Image]Wikimedia commons

The 12 men from Uttar Pradesh (UP) who had been living in a bus for two weeks in Dubai after being duped by their travel agent were brought back to India on Friday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had tweeted on 22 December: "I will ask UP Government to register a case against this unscrupulous agent. Our Embassy will help in Dubai. (sic)"

The 12 men from UP, who had gone to Dubai seeking employment, had to take out loans and sell off property and jewellery to raise money for visas and fees of the agent. The agency vanished with their documents within a month of their reaching Dubai. They were employed as construction workers near the Fujairah-Oman border when the agent absconded, leaving them homeless. Soon, they shifted to the outskirts of Dubai where they lived in a bus for two weeks before any help came their way.

One of the workers, Bhuwaneshwar Mishra of Deoria, who landed on Friday, told TOI: "I never experienced such a level of humiliation. We were cheated by agents who promised us jobs in Dubai while we ended up staying in camps without any money.

"We called them [Indian embassy] several times for help but they always asked us to visit the embassy, but we didn't have any money on us," said Ankur, another of the group, expressing disappointment regarding the lack of help from the Indian authorities in Dubai.

"People from UP who came to our rescue. One of them arranged for our stay and the group took care of our food," he added.

Girish Pant, an activist, and Juhi Khan, a fashion designer, had also helped the group get in touch with the authorities.

"We would like to take up this matter with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. He should help us eliminate the widespread scam of employment in Gulf countries," said Arun Mishra, another victim of the fraudulent agency.