In what is being touted as a rare case, even a first according to Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) spokesperson Amjed Ullah Khan, the Ministry of External Affairs has written to the Telangana DGP to crack down on an illegal travel agent in Hyderabad. The agent, Mohd Aleem, has been accused by Mohd Sardar, son of Mehraj Begum, the woman allegedly trafficked by Aleem to Kuwait.
“This is the first time that MEA has written to the police directly asking for action against the agent. Generally, MEA first asks us to get an FIR on the matter – and that is where we run into the first hurdle,” Amjed tells TNM. “Police often refuse to file an FIR or delay it for months after the complaint has been given,” he alleges.
“In case we have an FIR, the MEA coordinates with the Indian embassy. This is the first case where it has officially written to the Telangana police to crack down on the agent,” Amjed adds.
The case in question came to light in a letter dated February 12 by Mohd Sardar to the MEA. He said that his mother was offered a job by Mohd Aleem of Hope Placement Services in Banjara Hills. She was allegedly told that she would be going to work as a beautician in Kuwait on a salary of 200 Kuwaiti Dinar (approximately Rs 45,206). Once there however, she was made to work as a domestic help without any proper food and accommodation.
“She is being taken to different houses of her employer and relatives to work also. When she wanted to return, her employer is demanding Rs 2 lakh to allow her to go back saying that he has given the money to the said agents and bought her. When I approached the above said travel agents and asked them to bring back my mother, even they are demanding money to call her back (sic),” Mohd Sardar alleged in the letter.
The MEA took cognizance of the matter on March 1, and wrote to the Telangana DGP, pointing out that Mohd Aleem and his agency were illegal. “[They] are not registered under section 10 of the Emigration Act, 1983 and hence it is not authorised to carry out overseas recruitment business without obtaining a valid Registration Certificate,” points out the letter, signed by RA Meena, Under Secretary to the Government of India.
Section 10 of the Emigration Act mandates that no person can function as a recruiting agent without a valid certificate, which is punishable under section 24 of the Act. Such a person is punishable with imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of up to Rs 2000.
The MEA has also asked the police to register a case in the matter, investigate it thoroughly and send an action report to the Ministry at the earliest.
The letter is also copied to KY Naik, Nodal officer of the Telangana government, and the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (previously Overseas Worker Rescue Resource Centre) and Mohd Sardar, asking them to pursue the matter with the police.