Families of 6 ‘tortured’ Indian workers seek help

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India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been requested to rescue the six who are now staying at the high commission without their passports.

PETALING JAYA: The families of six Indian nationals allegedly cheated and tortured by employers in Malaysia without pay have appealed to the government of India to help them return home.

The New Delhi-based ANI news agency reported yesterday that the men had sought refuge at the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur after not being paid for three months and were unable to bear the living conditions.

It said their passports had been taken away by the employers and had not been handed back to them.

The issue has caught the attention of social media users in India.

A video of a relative pleading for assistance has been shared on Twitter. The relative claimed the men were overworked and tormented.

Speaking in Hindi, the relative alleged that the men, from Telangana state, were made to work continuously for 12 hours a day, and were exposed to beatings and theft.

“We are very worried and just want them to come back home safely as soon as possible,” the relative said.

The ANI report cited Aijaz Ahmed Khan, the son of one of the victims, as saying his father had been duped into accepting the job offer by an agent in India.

He said the agent had told his father, Anees Ahmed Khan, that he would be paid 25,000 to 30,000 rupees (RM1,500 to RM1,800), with food and accommodation provided by the employer.

However, after the family had paid the agent about RM6,200 and Anees had arrived in Malaysia, it dawned on him that he was not officially employed.

“They took my father to a steel company. There were lots of problems but he adjusted. But they have not provided him food. It has been three months already,” Aijaz said.

He said the family had requested India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to rescue his father and the other five like him who are now staying at the high commission without their passports.

The ANI reported that families of other victims had told the same story of agents luring them to Malaysia on the pretext of giving them jobs, only for them not to be paid.

“It’s been three months but they haven’t received their salaries. Due to continuous torture, our brothers ran away from the company and approached the Indian High Commission,” said another relative.

“My brothers asked their employers to hand over their passports but the employers are ignoring that request,” the relative added.