Even as the ISIS continues with its Iraq rampage, India is on tenderhooks, with many of its nationals stranded there. Meanwhile, a 200-member Indian community group in Kuwait is extending moral support and providing food supplies and even phone recharge to hundreds of Punjabi youth trapped in strife-torn Iraq. In some cases, the Punjab Welfare Association has even managed to convince their employers to release passports to facilitate their return to India. The plight of the youth had fi rst caught the group’s attention in May when 24year- old Gurmail Singh, who worked as a tailor in Kuwait, had died of cardiac arrest and no one came to claim his body. The association had contacted Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann to arrange for collection of Gurmail’s body at the Delhi airport for his family to perform his last rites. The group opened a helpline as the crisis deepened in Iraq. “We have the advantage of having a good command over Arabic. It helped us get in touch with companies where Punjabi youths are employed and the Iraqi embassy to get passports of some of them released. Authorities have been given a comprehensive list of Punjabis working in Iraq,” says Ram Singh Sahota, PWA president. “Apart from a handful of engineers and professionals, most of us work at potato chip factories or telecom firms and could instantly feel the pain of those stuck in Iraq,” added Anantdeep Singh, PWA general secretary.

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