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More than 4,000 Indians languishing in jails in 16 West Asian countries

The exact nature of crimes committed by them are not revealed by the host governments to Indian missions unless they are as serious as murder, drug trafficking, financial fraud, adultery and prostitution.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2017 18:33 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indians in Saudi Arabia,West Asia,No Indians behind strife-torn Syria
The Saudi Arabia, which is home to 3 million Indians, have as many as 2,084 Indians in jails while UAE as many as 1,376.(AFP File Photo)

As many as 4,321 Indian workers are languishing in 16 out of the 18 West Asian countries, according to the latest government data. There is, however, no Indian behind bars in strife-torn Syria — a country where government has warned citizens against travelling — and Palestine.

The region hosts over 8 million Indians, who are mostly blue collar workers.

The exact nature of crimes committed by them are mostly not revealed by the host governments to Indian missions unless they are as serious as murder, drug trafficking, financial fraud, adultery and prostitution, said officials.

Majority of the workers are behind bars for not possessing valid travel documents, overstaying visa and violating local laws.

“Many foreign countries do not provide us with the information about imprisonment of Indian there. They only reach out when somebody is facing deportation, which is often decided by a court,” said an official.

The Saudi Arabia, which is home to 3 million Indians, have as many as 2,084 Indians in jails.

They face charges varying from selling liquor to consuming liquor to more serious charges such bribery, embezzlement, drug use and murder.

The United Arab Emirates, which has over 2.3 millions Indians working in the country, has as many as 1,376 Indians nationals behind the bars.

Similarly, there are 84 Indians in jail in Oman and 488 in Kuwait. They have mostly been convicted for crimes ranging from forgery and adultery to traffic violation and drug abuse.

Qatar has 177 Indians serving jail sentences for trespassing, drug abuse, forgery and bribery.

There are 11 Indian nationals serving jail term in Iraq. They are charged with entering the country without relevant

documents and overstaying the visa.

“Many of these Indians are duped by their recruitment agents. Some of the them don’t even know the rules in these countries. So a better strategy is needed for migration,” said S Irudayarajan, a migration expert.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 18:33 IST