In a new case of an Indian worker being brutalised by his employer in the Middle East, three people working in Saudi Arabia released a video recording recently in which they are pleading for help.
The three men, all hailing from Kodavilakam village in Tamil Nadu have claimed that they were being tortured by their employers.
Identified as K Kalaivannan, V Ebenezer Lucas and Raman, the three men went to Saudi Arabia on 28 March, 2015, on an employment visa to work as drivers, reported The New Indian Express.
In the released video, Kalaivannan has claimed that he is being tortured by his employers. He says: “The employer took us to a place in Riyadh and told us that we have to work as shepherds. I told the employer that I won’t work as a shepherd. The owner used to repeatedly hit me and he locked me inside a room in his house. They did not give food or water. I could not bear the hunger so I agreed to work as a shepherd.”
But when one of the lambs died accidentally, Kalaivannan claimed that his employer, one Abdullah, tried to strangle him with a steel chord.
According to The Hindu, Kalaivannan, who has now been shifted to a location on Riyadh Road in Saudi Arabia, is not able to go anywhere as his passport is in his employer's possession.
Kalaivannan's wife, K Sundari, told TNIE that she was seeking Tamil Nadu government's help. “My husband called me last week, crying because he sees no chance of his return... We have two children and I am worried about their lives. I have given a petition at the Collectorate, but have not heard from anyone. I don’t know who else to approach,” she said.
Kalaivannan, who fears that his employer might kill him if he stays longer, has asked the Indian government for help.
Confinement and denial of rights have been a perpetual problem for lakhs of migrant workers employed in Saudi Arabia. The country became a popular destination for skilled and unskilled workers soon after oil was discovered in the late 1930s. But of late increasing reports of poor working conditions, including instances of isolation and brutality, is making many in India to have second thoughts about the attractiveness of the Middle East as an employment destination.
Earlier this year, one Abdul Sattar Makandar from Karnataka released a tearful video in which he was pleading with a social worker for release from his employers in Saudi Arabia.
According to a recent PTI report, nearly 200 workers from Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan, employed with a company in Saudi Arabia, have been stranded and their salaries have not been paid for the last few months.