Tortured, denied food and threatened: Nine Bengali workers seek help to return from Saudi Arabia

Written by Mirza Mosaraf Hossain | Published on: February 16, 2018
In another incident of Indian workers being abused in Gulf countries, it has emerged that nine workers from West Bengal who went to Saudi Arabia through a contract with touts have been detained in a single room for the last two months. Their passports have been taken away and they have been forced to do menial jobs although they were assured a secure job in multinational companies. Furthermore, they have been refused salaries for the last four months and have been given only one meal a day. To make matters worse, they have been subjected to abuse when they asked for salaries and there have been no arrangements for medical treatment of the ones injured.

Alauddin Dhabak

Though the families of some of the workers approached their respective district administrative authorities to bring them back home, the efforts are yet to materialise. The families are urging the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee for their return.

Sukdab Biswas

Gias Mondal

The nine workers are from three different districts of Bengal. Prabhat Biswas, Basudev Das and Sukhdev Biswas are from the same village, Goal Bathan, under Gaighati block of North 24 Parganas; Shymal Pal from Sulantu village of East Burdwan district. The other five: Ruhul Amin Biswas, Alauddin Dhabak, Babar Ali Mondal, Gias Mondal and Azhar Mondal are from Nadia district.

Ruhul Amin Biswas

Shyamal Pal

Prabhat Biswas

They all set out to Saudi Arabia on October 8, 2017, with the help of the two local touts, Jasimuddin Dhabak and Enamul Mondal.

Azahar Mondal.
These touts assured them the job of carpenters in multinational companies and for which they had to give them Rs 1.3 lakh each as fees. But it did not turn out as planned. Instead, they were compelled to do the job of scavengers and sweepers and most of the days they have to stay at home without work. The touts, meanwhile, have gone missing.

According to Inzamul Mondal, the brother of Azhar Mondal,“ since October 8 last year, my brother and the others had to move to four different places in search of a job and they are harassed every day in each possible ways.”

The workers are now kept at Al-Hamra village of Al-Khafji district, located 663 km from Riyadh and close to the Saudi border with Qatar.

The incident was highlighted last month and several local Bengali newspapers covered it after the families of Ruhul Amin and Alauddin Dhaba approached the S.D.O and D.M Office of Nadia but with little success. Najma Biswas, the wife of Ruhul Amin Biswas, was disappointed at the inactiveness of the Nadia district administration. She said, “ we approached the S.D.O and the DM office in January month and then we were assured that necessary steps will be taken to bring my husband and others back home. But till now, they haven’t taken any initiative to bring them back and due to the district administration’s ignorance, the workers have been living on one meal a day and being tortured.”

TwoCircles.Net managed to talk to Basudev Das over the phone and he said, “I was assured that I will be given a job with Rs 30,000 as salary by Jasimuddin and Enamul Mondal, the touts, in a good company. But here we are not given sufficient meals and work, only those days when we have work we are given two times meals and most of the days we are workless. We are pleading to all to rescue us from this place, otherwise, our condition will worsen with each day.” he added, “ I am the sole earner in my family of five members. My parents, my wife and my child are having an extremely difficult time making ends meet.”

Allauddin Dhabak said, “We are now in utter despair. we are kept in an old building quite far away from the city near the Qatar border. We are not allowed to go outside and are always rebuked by our boss whenever we request them to let us go home. We do have not a single penny. Four guards are always there to watch our every movement. Now I am talking to you from the bathroom after locking the door.” He added, “we don’t know whether we will go home alive because anything may happen to us at any time.”

TwoCircles.Net also contacted the officials at the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and sent all the relevant documents of the nine workers including their passport copies and phone numbers to sort out the problem and bring them back home. The Officials said they will take all necessary steps to bring them back.

Courtesy: Two Circles