Dubai: Nine Indians have been stranded in the UAE after accepting fake job offers through social media, according to a media report on Sunday.

The men from Kerala, who are currently stranded in Al Ain and Ajman, claim they met the agent named Shafeeq on WhatsApp and paid up to Rs 70,000 for visit visas to the UAE, Khaleej Times reported.

The incident comes months after the Consulate General of India in Dubai asked job seekers to stay away from fraudulent job advertisements luring Indians to the UAE.

The Consulate said "job seekers should not fall prey to such bogus job offers and in case of any doubt, may seek clarification from the Consulate." 

Fazil, one of the victims from Malappuram district in Kerala, said that he received the job offer on WhatsApp.

"A WhatsApp message that promised jobs in the UAE within 15 days was being widely shared in Kerala, and I also received the forwarded message. I really thought it was genuine as many people were showing interest," he was quoted as saying in the report.

Fazil said that he had a conversation with the agent who convinced him of a job in a supermarket in Al Ain. 

"He told me I will get Dh1,200 (Rs 22,496) as monthly salary and free food and accommodation. I was going through tough times, and thought it would be a good start for me," said Fazil, who is a qualified technician.

Fazil said he mortgaged his mother's gold ornaments to cough up the money and cannot return home without a job.

Mohammed Rafeeq, 30, another victim from Kozhikode in Kerala, said he borrowed Rs 70,000 from friends and family for the job.

"Nine people including myself managed to pay up. And the agent formed a separate WhatsApp group for nine of us and we were communicating with each other," he said, adding the agent told them that they would be travelling together to the UAE.

But as soon as they landed in Abu Dhabi on July 15, the men said they realised they got duped.

Rafeeq said a local agent named Shameer met them at the airport and split the men into two groups. 

"Four people were sent to Ajman and five of us of were taken to Al Ain. When asked about our jobs, he said the supermarket official is in jail and hence they will have to find new jobs for us. We immediately knew we were in trouble," Rafeeq was quoted as saying by the paper.

Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi has stepped in and have offered to assist in sending the men home.

Rafeeq said he and his friends are surviving on the allowance given by the embassy.

"We have repeatedly highlighted the need for ECR passport holders to not come to UAE on visit visa for employment purpose," Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri told the paper.

Smita Pant, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy said they have started pushing for legal action against unscrupulous agents in India.

"We have reported about 40 such cases to Indian authorities and police investigations are on. That is important to deter these illegal agents from duping more people," the official said.

Pant said the embassy is encouraging victims to file a police case against the agents.

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Mangaluru: A Belthangady resident Rawoof, who works as a helper at local Madrasa was on Monday in for a shock of his life when he was informed by his friends and relatives that his name was appearing in news channels and papers but for all the wrong reasons.

Rawoof on Monday received several calls from his friends and relatives informing him about his name appearing in news channels and papers calling to be a terrorist who made and received calls from Pakistan in Belthangady.

Reports were doing rounds in media that the NIA had arrested one terrorist from Belthangady for allegedly making and receiving satellite calls from Pakistan. Although the news was not verified or confirmed from any official sources or authority, media houses jumped to conclusion and soon name of Rawoof appeared in reports as the arrested terrorist.

After being informed by his friends and relatives, Rawoof immediately got in touch with Ullal MLA and senior Congress leader U T Khader who advised him to appear before Dakshina Kannada SP Laxmiprasad and to file a complaint in this regard at the earliest.

Rawoof appeared before Superintendent of Police and cleared his stance and added that he had no connection with Pakistan and that reports being shown in the media are untrue.

After verifying his details and backgrounds to the SP, Rawoof urged him to take strict action against the media houses who have casted him as a terrorist.

Rawoof also met Mangaluru Police Commissioner Dr. PS Harsha and informed him about the reports and added that the whole episode had caused mental harassment and torture to him.

Speaking to Vartha Bharati, Rawoof said "This whole thing has badly affected my mental peace. My family is being asked about my connections with Pakistan. All this, when I don't know anything about such stuff. The whole incident has disturbed me and my family completely".

He further added that he had faith on the police department who will take action against those found guilty.

MLA U T Khader also batted for action against media houses who casted Rawoof as terrorist even when the SP has confirmed that there is no criminal record and history of Rawoof.

Earlier in the day, SP Laxmiprasad had also rubbished the reports and had added that no such incident or case of satellite calls being made or received from Pakistan was reported nor the NIA had arrested any person in this regard.