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300 Punjabis ‘Illegally Detained’ In Uae

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300 Punjabis ‘illegally detained’ in UAE

Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 11

Even as the case of 17 Punjabi youths being awarded death sentence in the UAE is fresh in the minds of the people, another case of alleged harassment and illegal detention of nearly 300 Punjabi workers has come to light at a hosiery unit located at Zubail in UAE.

Darshan Mattoo, a resident of Gurdaspur district whose maternal cousin is employed at Nasser S Hosiery, Zubail, said, “We received his call last night. He sounded very panicky and told that he along with around 300 other Punjabi workers have been illegally detained in some vehicles there. They are neither being given proper meals nor being allowed to answer nature’s call for the last two-three days.” He, however, pleaded for concealing the identity of his cousin as he felt that the latter may land in the soup in the UAE if his identity was made public.

Later, talking to this correspondent on phone from UAE, his cousin told that the Nepali workforce dominate the hosiery unit where he is employed. He said following a tiff between Nepali and Punjabi workers three-four days ago after a Punjabi youth approached a Nepali worker, who was also a lottery agent, to claim some amount which he had won in a lucky draw. “The Nepali worker instead of paying him his due thrashed him which led to a violent clash between the two sides. However, the Nepali workers not only beat us but also ransacked the factory. They also set ablaze some factory vehicles and put the entire blame on the Punjabi workers,” he said.

According to him, nine Punjabi workers sustained injuries in the clash and were admitted to a hospital there. However, on the basis of allegations levelled by the Nepali workers, they were later shifted to jail.

Mattoo said the hosiery unit management is also siding with the Nepali workforce which outnumbers Punjabi youth working there. He claimed that even their cell phones have been snatched away by the Nepali workers and anybody found seeking help from any quarter is being subjected to more harassment. However, his cousin managed to hide his mobile phone and called him up.

Meanwhile, Jagtar Singh Karampura, CPM Secretary, Amritsar (Urban), has appealed to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to intervene and resolve the issue.

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I hear Indian workers are really looked down on in these countries. They are like the servile classes.

Yet again, lack of progression and opportunities in Panjab leads our people to end up as second rate people in foreign lands.

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