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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Jharkhand man stuck in Saudi Arabia for 2 yrs with meagre pay, returns on Eid

Dreaming of making a lot of money, Muhfiz had left India over two years back. However, he had to lead the life of a ‘hostage’ in Saudi Arabia, Muhfiz said after arriving at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2019 18:15 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Mohammad Mufij Safdar Ali with relatives after his return from Saudi Arabia at the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Monday.
Mohammad Mufij Safdar Ali with relatives after his return from Saudi Arabia at the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Monday.(DIWAKAR PRASAD/ HT PHOTO)
         

After spending two traumatic years in Saudi Arabia, Jharkhand man Md Mufij Safdar Ali, 27, returned home to Ranchi on the occasion of Eid-Al-Adha on Monday.

Dreaming of making a lot of money, Muhfiz had left India over two years back. However, he had to lead the life of a ‘hostage’ in Saudi Arabia, Muhfiz said after arriving at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport.

“I was tortured, given a meagre salary and a case of stealing was also lodged against me. I had never thought I would ever come back to India. I thank the Jharkhand government, which brought me back to my country,” he said.

Misguided by his childhood friend, Mojjam Ali, who is settled in Saudi Arabia for the last 12 years, Muhfiz, who ran a bike repair shop at Ranchi’s Kathitand area, left for Saudi Arabia in March 2017. His friend helped him to get Azad Visa, an arrangement between the person buying the Visa and the hiring company, from a Mumbai-based agent.

“My friend told me that I would earn 2,600 Saudi Riyal (approximately Rs 50,000) after a struggle of two-three months in a company. At the time the Visa was issued, Ali suggested to tell the agent that I was hired at 2200 Riyal per month. Below this amount, they do not give a Visa,” Muhfiz said.

Muhfiz said he was taken to a place called Al Kashi Unaizah in Saudi Arabia where his friend took him to a garage instead of a company. “The garage belonged to one Seikh Ahmad Yahya Musa, where Harley Davidsons, Suzuki and other luxurious vehicles were repaired. I was hired at only 1000 Riyal per month. After three months, it was increased to 1200 Riyal,” Muhfiz said.

The torture started after one year. “My salary was not hiked. On the contrary, the owner started deducting my salary on one pretext or another. Meanwhile, the tenure of my Visa was coming to an end. I wanted to return to India. But, the owner renewed the Visa using his sources. I was not allowed to go. Due to deduction of my salary, I fell into deep financial crisis. My family members in Ranchi had to send money to me there,” he said.

Muhfiz’s brother in-law Md Sajid Hasan said they had sent Rs 1.30 lakh in one-year. On April 12, Muhfiz escaped from the garage and reached Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. However, the next day on April 13, the owner lodged a case against him saying he had stolen gold items worth Rs 22,000 Riyal.

“I was hiding here and there at Riyadh. Anyhow, I contacted my family members for help,” he said.

Muhfiz’s childhood friend Satish Gorai approached the Ranchi police, the Jharkhand governor and then chief minister Raghubar Das. “We approached chief minister Raghubar Das around three months back. He promised to bring Muhfiz back to Ranchi. Then, the chief minister took a personal initiative with the external affairs department,” Gorai said.

Chief minister Raghubar Das congratulated Muhfiz on his safe return and thanked the external affairs ministry and Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia for their support to help him return to India.

Das asked two officials, resident commissioner, New Delhi, MR Meena and one of the CM’s secretaries, KP Balian, to coordinate with the external affairs ministry and Indian embassy to sort out the issue.

“I received the matter on June 26. The chief minister had given clear cut instructions that he should return home by Eid. I contacted the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia. Since a case of stealing was pending against Muhfiz, the embassy engaged a social worker to present Muhfiz’s side in court,” Balian said.

Finally, it was proved that the case was false and fabricated. “Muhfiz’s original passport is still with his employer. The embassy made an emergency passport and sent him back to India,” Balian said.

Muhfiz said the allegation of stealing was proved wrong. “With the initiative of the chief minister, my emergency Visa and passport were made and I was brought back to India. I reached my home in Ranchi and found an opportunity to celebrate Eid-Al-Adha with my family members,” Muhfiz said.

First Published: Aug 12, 2019 17:18 IST