‘I was forced to work 15 hours a day without salary’ | jaipur | Hindustan Times
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‘I was forced to work 15 hours a day without salary’

Habib Hussain, who escaped from Saudi Arabia by hiding in an Air India air-craft and landed in Jaipur on December 25, was freed from a Jaipur jail on Saturday.

jaipur Updated: Jan 10, 2010 00:42 IST

Habib Hussain, who escaped from Saudi Arabia by hiding in an Air India air-craft and landed in Jaipur on December 25, was freed from a Jaipur jail on Saturday.

Dressed in a black pullover and brown trousers, the gaunt and bearded 24-year-old briefly talked to the media at the prison gate and left for home in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Hindustan Times had a short interview with him while he was about to board a Rajasthan Roadways bus to Delhi. Excerpts:

I have two children, daughter Sherin and son Ayan. As my wife was expecting a third child, I decided that I needed to earn more.

I used to make only about Rs 150 a day, while I was told that a ground handling company in Median airport in Saudi Arabia would pay me Rs 13,000 a month as a security guard.

After I joined, one of the officials of the company took away my passport and made me clean toilets and gutters.

Soon, our group was forced to work for 15 hours a day. We were served only one meal a day and not paid any salary. I used to make do with the tips that I received from Haj pilgrims.

I decided to come back to India and asked for my passport, but I was beaten up, instead. It was then that I decided to flee.

I started planning my escape around 10 to 15 days prior to the day I boarded the Air India flight for Jaipur. I hid in a toilet in the air-craft and remained there for around 40 minutes before a flight attendant found me.

I narrated my story to her and she offered me some food and a seat.

There are around 25-30 workers like me who are still stuck at Medina airport. They all want to come back.

Now, I want to stay with my family and will be happy with whatever I earn here.