Their passports were snatched, salaries slashed by Iran clients after dispute with Indian employers.
With their passports snatched and salaries slashed following a dispute between their Indian employers and Iranian clients, two Indian engineers, Mohammad Hussain Khan and Sanket Pandya, are struggling to return to India.
The two men were employed by an Indian company and sent to the Zanjan province of Iran to install and commission gas generators for a Tehran-based company.
Now, stranded at a Gurdwara in Tehran, they have, through a borrowed laptop, uploaded a video online with an appeal to the people of India to help them return.
Their families have, since they first learnt of their plight on January 18, been running to government offices but have received no assurances from the governments or embassies of both countries regarding the chances of their return.
Hussain Khan’s elder brother Hassan Khan said he has also written to several ministries as well as to the Iranian Ambassador in India requesting intervention but has received no communication except for an acknowledgement of his request.
According to him, after the dispute between the two companies, the Indian company started pulling out its employees, but left the two engineers there telling them that their team was being replaced. “However, on December 7 the Iranian company’s representative forcibly collected their passports and locked the two in the company guest house for 45 days,” he said.
The engineers, however, managed to escape with the help of a Turkish cook and came to Tehran where they contacted the first secretary at the Indian Embassy. “The embassy made arrangements for them and gave them travel notes… but Iranian authorities didn’t allow them to travel on the notes,” Hassan said.
The engineers also wrote to their Iranian clients to try negotiate a deal for their passports but were told the company had no knowledge of where their passports were.
Hassan says that after exhausting all options, the two are now forced to live in the Gurdwara. “The company through its lawyer told us that they will bring them home illegally through Dubai but we do not want to risk their lives. We are still knocking on doors hoping against hope,” he said.
This issue has also been pursued by MEA. The Mission has been in touch with the concerned Indians and has raised the issue with the Iranian Foreign Minister. It is now learnt that there are legal issues which are being pursued by the lawyer of the two Indian nationals.