Centre silent on US 'barbaric' acts in Iraq: Antony

Updated on May 07, 2004 07:14 PM IST

Kerala Chief Minister AK Antony on Thursday criticised the centre for being silent on the recent incidents of humiliation by American troops in Iraq, from where Keralite workers have come with stories of harassment.

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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Thiruvananthapuram,

Kerala Chief Minister AK Antony on Thursday criticised the centre for being silent on the recent incidents of humiliation by American troops in Iraq, from where Keralite workers have come with stories of harassment.

"If Indira Gandhi, VK Krishna Menon or Rajiv Gandhi were at the helm of affairs in India, they would have taken a very strong anti-American stand on what US forces are doing in Iraq. What is happening there is nothing but a shameful barbaric act and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is silent," he said.

The chief minister said the state government had requested the centre to see what could be done to bring back the stranded Keralites who are working as bonded labourers in Iraq.

"See, we can do very little from here and we don't think enforcing a blanket ban on foreign recruitments from here is the answer. What is required is to see that the Indian government takes a strong anti-American stand on happenings there," Antony said.

According to reports, close to 100 Keralites are in the war-torn country. Though they were recruited to go to Kuwait and Jordan, their employers sent them to Iraq.

Five Kerala workers have returned home with ugly tales of being humiliated and abused by American forces. Four Muslim men said they were forced to prepare pork dishes at gunpoint even though it was against their religion. A fifth said he was working under miserable conditions in the kitchens of what was once Saddam Hussein's palace in Baghdad.

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