The pathetic condition of Indian workers in Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, is not a secret. But a particular incident captured on video exposed the animal-like treatment the workers receive at the hands of their Saudi employers.
Before you read any further, take a look at this 43-second video.
You can hear a voice in the video shouting “arrest karo” twice, though who or why the words are being uttered is not clear.
According to reports, the video was filmed by one of the three men who arrived in the Gulf country following a promise of a lucrative job. They were, however, forced to work as menial labourers.
The youths, who hail from Haripad in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, were taken to Saudi Arabia by a placement agency. The Saudi man, seen in the video beating them with a wooden plank, is purportedly their employer.
The youth then shared the video on social-networking sites, where it went viral. Acting on the same, the Kerala Government requested the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to intervene following which she tweeted this:
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 23, 2015
Swaraj has now said that the three youths will be back in Indi by next week.
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We reported this to Saudi Police. We are in touch with Indian workers. They will be back in India within a week. https://t.co/X5qtJid3YJ
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 24, 2015
The mistreatment of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia is not a singular incident. In October this year, Saudi employers cut off a hand of their Indian maid triggering an outrage here in the country.
The case of Kasthuri Munirathinam was a shocker but then atrocities on Indian workers in Saudi Arabia is quite common.
Indian workers have practically no rights. Their passports are confiscated upon their arrival by the employers, who also reserve the right to send them to jail on any charge.
Many workers are forced to work without water.
Workers are often underpaid or not paid at all. Technically, many immigrant workers are forced to work as slaves in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
The inhumanity shown towards workers was one of the prime reasons why the upcoming Qatar World Cup came under the scanner of the world’s human rights watchdogs.
An estimated 1200 workers died while building the stadiums that will be filled with the rich people during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
These and Kasthuri’s case were the reasons why India mulled a ban on workers going to the Gulf countries. But that is impossible given the fact that there are around 9 million migrant workers in those countries remitting close to Rs.500 billion every year.
That number is growing at the rate of 1,000 workers per day.