Santacruz resident Raju Baria thought he was being rewarded by his employers for years of hard work and loyalty, when they gifted him a short holiday to Sharjah. However, it was an alleged trap, as he's been told that he can't return home until the visa expires, which is six months.

Piyush and Raju Baria right before the latter left for Sharjah
Piyush and Raju Baria right before the latter left for Sharjah

His 19-year-old son Piyush has been running around trying to get him back, even writing to Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj for help.

Bad birthday
Piyush told mid-day, "My father works for the Gomes family settled in Sharjah. They used to earlier stay in Vakola and keep visiting the city from time to time. For the last 15 years, my father has been looking after their properties in Mumbai."

"On his birthday on October 3, Jewel Gomes offered him a "gift" on behalf of the family - a short holiday to Sharjah. He left with her on October 6. However, after reaching there, the family took away his travel documents, including his passport, and put him up in the staff quarters in their home. He's being made to do odd jobs and is barely given any food," the teenager added.

Gulf-trapped
"When he told the family that it was important for him to return to Mumbai, they said he couldn't go back until the six-month visa expired. They said they had spent lakhs on procuring it for him and that if he wanted to go back he would have to pay them back.

"My father is the breadwinner; my 16-year-old sister and I are still studying. My mother has fallen sick and we need him back home."

Piyush further said, "A few days ago, when I spoke to him, he told me he's being kept there against his will. And he has been unable to get in touch with anyone at the Indian Embassy in Sharjah as the office hours and his duty timings don't match."

"My last hope lies with Sushma Swaraj and the Government of India. I hope they are able to send him back. I am waiting to hear from the MEA," the aggrieved youngster said. An MEA official said, "The Indian Consul General in the UAE will look into the complaint."