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Want to be sent back to India: 450 Indian workers forced to beg in Saudi Arabia, says report

Last Updated : 20 September 2020, 10:29 IST
Last Updated : 20 September 2020, 10:29 IST

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About 450 Indian workers are forced to beg in Saudi Arabia, according to a report by The Times of India. Work permits of most of the workers from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra, had expired, following which they had no option but to beg to survive.

As per the report, videos of the workers claiming that the Saudi authorities shifted them to the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah after identifying them have gone viral.

"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 said.

"My brother passed away and my mother is critical. I want to be sent back to India," another worker said in a video.

There are over 26 lakh Indians working in Saudi Arabia, the largest expatriate community in the Gulf country. While 2.4 lakh Indian nationals had reportedly registered to return to India, approximately 49,000 have been able to come back, as per a written response in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan.

Social worker and MBT leader Amjed Ullah Khan told the publication that the local authorities shifted the workers to the detention centres after finding out that they had overstayed in the country. "Those who did not have the 'aqama' (work permit) were later taken to the detention centres," he said.

Khan has written a letter to Prime minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed demanding the Centre to aid the workers who are stuck.

Responding, to the concerns, the Consulate General of India, Jeddah tweeted, "The Consulate & Embassy have been in close consultation with MEA and Saudi authorities for sometime for arranging special flights, ensuring clearances & fulfillment of necessary health protocols. Flights carrying Indian deportees, are likely to be operated in the next week."


(with agency inputs)

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Published 20 September 2020, 09:00 IST

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