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Gulf Indian embassy foils exile bid

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 13:26 IST
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The Indian embassy in Bahrain has stepped in to secure the release of two Gudaibiya labour camp disaster survivors, after their company tried to deport them to India.

The Gudaibiya labour camp was completely gutted in a major fire last month, that killed 17 Indian workers.

According to reports, the two Indian workers, Velmurugan Kumaraswamy and Ravi Muthuswamy, were taken from a temporary labour camp by a Royal Tower Construction Company representative,  detained at a police station, and later taken to the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence.

Meanwhile, the company has alleged that the two were instigating other workers not to join work.

"We were paid part of the settlement after the company deducted money for our tickets home, saying we would be deported," Kumaraswamy has been quoted as saying.

"I was the first among 32 workers who gave their consent to the sponsor last week agreeing to go back to India, provided our dues were paid in full."

He, however, alleged that the Royal Tower Construction Company intended to deport them without paying their dues.

But the Indian mission officials intervened in the nick of time and foiled the deportation bid of the Indian workers aboard a Kuwaiti airways flight.

The mission then secured their release.

The company has violated all assurances given to the labour ministry, Balkrishna Shetty, Indian ambassador to Bahrain, said.

Only last week, the Indian workers had returned to work after staying away for over a fortnight under a deal brokered with the company by the Bahraini labour ministry.

But the deal appears to have collapsed, said John Iype, general secretary of the Coordination Committee of Indian Associations (CCIA).

One Monday, the workers stayed away from work to protest against what they called the "abduction" of their colleagues.

The workers said they had lost all trust in the company and did not want to work with it any more.

"I am amazed how a company which gave an assurance to the labour ministry to meet all the workers' demands has broken it within days," Shetty said.

He said he was also surprised the company could behave in such an irresponsible manner, right under the nose of the labour ministry.

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