HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Indians forced to work as bonded labourers in Saudi Arabia

Punkaj Bhaartiya, Hindustan Times  Hamirpur, June 29, 2014
First Published: 10:05 IST(29/6/2014) | Last Updated: 10:07 IST(29/6/2014)

With crisis still looming large over Indian citizens in Iraq, reports of Indians being held captive and forced to work as bonded labourers have also come from Saudi Arabia. This has made people in the Gulf countries more apprehensive about the security of their lives.

Roop Lal, a native of Mandiani village, said his son Vijay Kumar who had gone to Saudi Arabia to work as a skilled labor in March 2013 had messaged him that he was forced to work as a bonded labourer in a private company dealing with electrical goods.

According to Kumar, there were about 1,200 people from India and other Asian countries who were working in various companies, including the one where he was working in Damam, where the employees were forced to lead an inhuman life and were denied salary.

Lal said Kumar had told him that his request to be sent back to India was turned down and whenever he tried contacting the Indian embassy, they did not bother to help him or the others.

Lal added his son had told him that three Indians had committed suicide by hanging themselves and there was a need for the Indian government to take timely steps to save those living in Saudi Arabia.

Sunil Kumar, pradhan of Gram panchayat Mandiani, said Kumar had gone to Saudi Arabia for a job but the company where he was working had confiscated his passport due to which he was unable to return home.

He added he would take up the matter with the local police and the local member of legislative assembly to ensure Kumar’s speedy return.

When contacted, police superintendent Ajay Bodh said he was unaware of such a case. However, he said if such a case was reported with the police, the matter would be taken up with the state government or the central government for Kumar’s release.

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