The Economic Times
English EditionEnglish Editionहिन्दीગુજરાતી
| E-Paper
Search
+

    450 jobless Indian workers forced to beg in Saudi, shifted to detention centres

    Synopsis

    In videos that have gone viral, the workers said their only crime was begging after Saudi authorities identified them by going to their rented rooms and shifted them to the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah.

    Agencies
    When TOI contacted the Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah, to know if the workers were being helped to return to India, there was no response yet.
    (This story originally appeared in on Sep 19, 2020)
    HYDERABAD: Thanks to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and no jobs to survive, 450 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia are out on the road, begging.

    Work permits of most of these workers from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, and Maharashtra, had expired, forcing them to beg.

    In videos that have gone viral, the workers said their only crime was begging after Saudi authorities identified them by going to their rented rooms and shifted them to the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah.

    Among the workers at the detention centres include 39 from Uttar Pradesh, 10 from Bihar, five from Telangana, four each from Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka, and one from Andhra Pradesh.

    Many workers, who broke down, said they were caught in a hopeless situation. “We have not committed any crime. We were forced to beg because of our situation as we lost our jobs. Now, we are languishing in the detention centres,” a worker complained.

    Another said they were going through intolerable levels of hardship for more than four months. “We have seen workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka being helped by the authorities of their countries and sent back to their respective countries. However, we are stuck here,” a worker rued.

    Social worker and MBT leader Amjed Ullah Khan said the local authorities shifted the workers to the detention centres after ascertaining that they had been overstaying. “Those who did not have the ‘aqama’ (work permit) were later taken to the detention centres,” Amjed, who is in touch with the workers, told TOI.

    “My brother passed away and my mother is critical. I want to be sent back to India,” a worker said in a video appeal. Amjed has written to Prime minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed, brought to their notice the plight of the 450 Indian workers and urged the Centre to help the workers’ return to India.

    When TOI contacted the Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah, to know if the workers were being helped to return to India, there was no response yet. On September 17, the Pravasi Bhartiya Sahayta Kendra (PBSK), a helpline of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), responded to Amjed Ullah Khan on Twitter and sought details of all the emigrants, their contact numbers and also contact numbers of their families so that they could be helped.

    While 2.4 lakh Indian nationals had reportedly registered to return to India, only 40,000 have been able to come back.

    Also Read

    24 Comments on this Story

    test8 days ago
    Nice
    Maneesh Tantuway12 days ago
    Govt of Saudi should help Indian WORKERS. Indian workers NEED HELP in this such pendemic COVID-19.
    durai swamy25 days ago
    I met a person from bihar in erode district before 19,yeras said this state (tamil nadu) is heaven for him and said his another twenty comrades too happily living there without any bias or hatred working in a private foundry even without no education Now many states highly industrialized. There should be an agency to thelp these people to place them and even brokers loot their salaries everymonth that's another storyline. India can still employ millions but people don't know
    The Economic Times