Dishonesty never pays

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Rayees Ahmad Kumar : The writer is a columnist and teaches at Govt Secondary School, Anderwan, Ganderbal. He can be reached at: [email protected]

Jamshed had never been out of the Valley. However, it was only in 2018 that at the age of thirty-five he made his mind to visit Jammu during winters. After spending a week’s time in a Jammu hotel, he expressed his desire to visit Amritsar because one of his friends had visited Amritsar a month ago. He also had told Jamshed to visit Attari-Wagha border where the famous drum-beating retreat ceremony is held daily before sunset. After spending two weeks out of the Valley, Jamshed’s wife expressed her displeasure because neither her husband had informed her in advance nor he accompanied his family there. He had gone all alone. After an hour’s discussion between the couple and their six-year-old daughter it was decided that during the next winter, a tour would be arranged in which he would accompany his wife and daughter.
As per the promise, in the month of January next year, Jamshed along with his wife, daughter and his sister got ready for Jammu tour. Early in the morning, they boarded a train from Qazigund to Banihal, where from they went in a tempo to Jammu. During winter months the Srinagar Jammu National Highway remains quite often shut for the traffic in view of the frequent landslide and bad weather. Traffic jam on the highway is also a routine experience. Jamshed’s family faced all these difficulties during their journey from Banihal Railway Station to Jammu Bus Stand.
It was at 10:30 pm night, he along with his family reached Jammu. They had already done their dinner at Chanderkote, so their only priority was to book a hotel and take rest because due to hectic journey as they were very much exhausted. After spending a couple of days at Jammu, they planned to visit Delhi because neither of the four travellers had ever visited Delhi. Earlier during their stay at Jammu, they visited Ramnagri Wildlife sanctuary, Amar Mahal Museum, Bahu Fort. etc. To have a visit of Delhi, they boarded a double-decker bus at Jammu Bus Stand which left at 10:00pm for the India’s capital city.
Next day in the morning at 8 am, they reached near Red Fort Delhi. After disembarking from the bus, they didn’t know what to do and where to go because they were quite strangers there and there was no one to guide them properly. They felt quite helpless in an unknown place. They were in a state of perplexity. Suddenly a group of local men who were the agents of different travel agencies of Delhi appeared before them and enquired from them about their day’s plan. In one voice all the four travellerssaid that they have come to visit the tourist attractions of Delhi like Qutub Minar, Jamai Masjid, Red Fort, Nizamuddin Aulia, etc.
Finally, they got satisfied with one of the groups and finalised a deal with him. He demanded Rs400 per head from them to arrange full tour of Delhi for them. Accordingly, Jamshed paid Rs1600 to the owner of the travel agency. They prepared themselves for the day’s tour, took the morning tea at a tea stall near the office of the travel agency.
They sat in the bus of the travel agency to tour different tourist destinations of the capital city. First, they visited Qutub Minar, the tall tower built during 13th century by Qutub Ud Din Aibak, who was a ruler of medieval India, and was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate and also the founder of the Slave dynasty. He was a Turkish of the Aibak tribe and was the Sultan for only four years, 1206-1210. After spending a couple of hours at Qutub Minar, they proceeded towards Gandhi Samadhi. Later they along with other tourists who had registered themselves with the same travel agency moved towards Lotus Temple in the same bus. Jamshed’s wife Nighat developed some acquaintances with one of the ladies travelling in the same bus who too had to visit the same tourist spots. While spending long movements at Lotus Temple, she held a lengthy talk with the lady. She was from the Baramulla district of the Valley. Besides talking about many things, Nighat also asked her about the amount they paid to the travel agent. She replied, “We paid Rs150 per head”.
Nighat…Oh! Are you sure, you have paid only Rs150 per head?
Lady…Yes,surely, we paid only 150 per head.
Nighat …He took 400 per head from us. The bus is common, tourist places to be toured during the day are same and no extra facility has been reserved for us. Then why he demanded an extra amount from us.
Nighat went running to her husband and informed him about the different rates demanded by the travel agent. When Jamshed heard it, he enquired from the husband of the lady. Her husband too narrated the same story. Jamshed and his wife Nighat grew angry and they decided to call the owner of the travel agency. Somehow, they couldn’t contact him on the phone. However, after visiting few more spots like Jamia Masjid, Nizamuddin Aulia etc. they made their mind to physically contact the travel agency owner so that extra amount taken by him could be brought back. They couldn’t visit the Red Fort during the day’s tour because it was closed in view of the furniture and other material lying scattered there because few days ago there were Republic Day celebrations at the Red Fort. When the couple along with their daughter and Jamshed’s sister reached the office of the travel agency, they asked the owner about the reasons for demanding extra amount. The owner of the agency denied to pay the extra amount back to them. When they insisted him to pay back the extra amount, his reply was…”You came to my office in the morning. During morning time before 8:00 am, we take expensive rates in view of the heavy rush and demand of tourists.”
Jamshed…what kind of words are you speaking?Why have you taken extra amount from us? What kind of dishonesty is this? I will lodge a complaint against you at the police station.
By all means, the travel agent wasn’t moved and he remained firm on his motif. Jamshed’s other family members too asked him to pay back the extra amount. But he denied it completely and when their efforts proved all in vain, they left the office of the travel agency and booked a room in a guest house near the Jamia Masjid where most Kashmiri people stay during winters. They stayed in the guest house for some more days and then left back for Jammu in a train.
They reached Jammu at 11:00 am next day, booked a hotel room and did some shopping. After spending one more night at Jammu and purchasing clothes and other items for their family members, they decided to return back home. They booked a tempo and reached back home next morning facing the same hardships they had experienced earlier.
While taking some rest at his home, Jamshed searched the grievance portal of Delhi government. He registered the complaint against the travel agency of Delhi through his smart phone. Instantly he got the grievance number for his complaint. Two days later he received the phone call from Police Station Kashmiri Gate, Delhi. Jamshed narrated the whole episode to the SHO of the police station, and within one hour photos of the men working with the travel agency were sent to Jamshed on his WhatsApp number for recognition. SHO asked him to recognise the person who took money from him. After Jamshed recognised the men, they were arrested and lodged in the lockup of the Kashmiri Gate Police Station.
A day later Jamshed received the phone call from the owner of the travel agency, asking him to provide the bank account number so that the entire amount i.e. Rs1600 or more could be transferred back so that their men could be released from the police custody. Jamshed neither provided the account number nor he wanted to get his amount back now. He told the police to put him behind the bars and punish the guilty as per the relevant sections of the law, so that people won’t be deceived by him from now onwards and other travel agents would also learn a lesson.
For many days the owner of the travel agency wasrepeatedly calling him and saying that they would pay Jamshed Rs10000 but their only aim is to get his men released from the police custody. Jamshed denied it totally and they were still in the police custody. There was huge economic loss for the travel agency because his all agents were arrested and were spending days and nights in the police lockup. Besides the agency remained sealed for almost two weeks.
However it was only after a mutual consensus between Jamshed, owner of the travel agency and the police that his men were released from police custody after they confessed the crime and a fine of Rs10000 was realised from him and the amount was donated to a charitable trust of Delhi because Jamshed didn’t like now to get the money back from him instead he wanted it to be spent on the poor, destitute and orphans.

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