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Need to protect the rights of Indians in foreign prisons
Over 7,000 Indians in 72 countries with maximum of 1,508 being lodged in Saudi Arabia, are languishing in foreign prisons in different countries of the world, who had gone far away from their home towns in search of better avenues and to meet the day to day expenses, but they are behind bars due to one or the other reason.

A maximum of 1,508 Indians is lodged in jails in Saudi Arabia, followed by 785 in the United Arab Emirates, 614 in Nepal, 437 in the United Kingdom and 352 in Pakistan.

As per figures provided by the minister, a total of 2,909 Indians is languishing in jails of nine Gulf countries including Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Yemen. 

The number of Indians lodged in China is 117 while 223 people are languishing in jails in Bangladesh, 145 in Italy, 319 in Malaysia, 158 in Singapore and 291 in prisons in the US.

Indians are also lodged in jails in various other countries including Australia, Cyprus, Egypt, Japan, Denmark, France, Greece and Mauritius.

Though reports of unrest among Indian workers in Bahrain have been circulating on various social media sites for some time, the violence is a clear indication of the seriousness of the situation. The disturbance in Bahrain is significant as it came less than a week after India celebrated the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas honouring Indians abroad.

There are certain unfortunate Indians, who have been kept as bonded labourers by being threatened to get them involved in various charges besides keeping their passport and visa documents so that they may not flee from the country.

Whenever they request for relieving them by squaring up their accounts, they are black mailed and compelled to continue in service instead of being payed their dues.

The Indians held up are neither paid their wages nor they can come back to India and they don't even get the help of local police. They are bound to work even without getting food for number of days. They must face lot of inconveniences in the absence of passports in the custody of their employers.

The Indian Embassy takes all steps possible under local law and as applicable for a diplomatic mission to protect the rights of Indians in foreign jails which include regular visits to jails, providing travel documents, including emergency certificates for expeditious travel of those who have completed their sentence, providing tickets to deserving cases to avoid any delay in their departure etc.

Seeing all this, Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi, a renowned businessman from Dubai got released 88 Indians strangled in Arab countries by paying the blood money in dollars through non-government organization – Sarbat Da Bhla Charitable Trust –  and recently got 10 Punjabis released who were announced with death sentence.

Although, apart from Oberoi, there are certain social organizations doing commendable jobs, but one or two NGOs are hardly enough, there is need to take steps by many more people to get Indians released from various foreign prisons.

No doubt, Sushma Swaraj as Foreign Minister had taken up the case of 29 Indians from Telengana confined in Saudi Arabia through the Indian Ambassador Ahmad Jawed and secured their release and safe return, but there are substantial number of Indians in various other countries.

In this context, according to the recent disclosure, 50 Punjabis working in a private company in Bahrain along with more than 400 Indians from Kerala, Bihar and UP are held up, while three Indians have already died in jail custody.

Frankly speaking, one can well imagine the plight of Indians in various foreign jails who had gone there in search of earning livelihood by spending their hard-earned money, when there are no job opportunities in India. But the fate of all these Indians is in the hands of foreign employers instead of becoming helping hands for their parents and children in India.

In the unemployment era in India, the Indians on foreign lands are not only earning to take care of their families in India but to some extent they are also contributing in the economy of our country, by earning and transferring foreign currency to India.

In such circumstances, the government must take care of Indians facing lot of problems on foreign lands especially protecting their rights in jails. The purpose of opening the Indian Embassies with number of officials, in various countries by spending huge amounts would be lost if the staff cannot come forward to take care of Indians.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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