Thiruvananthapuram: Families and regional experts in Kerala are anxiously following
the ongoing turmoil in several Middle Eastern countries,
especially Bahrain which has a large Indian diaspora.
"Of the 2.3 million Keralites in the various Middle East
countries, one lakh (100,000) are in Bahrain -- our state having a
little over 50 percent of all Indians in Bahrain, according to our
state-wide survey done in 2008," S.Irudayarajan, head of the
migration unit at the Centre for Development Studies here, told
As a pro-democracy uprising demanding the ouster of the ruling Al
Khalifa family swells in Bahrain, troops fired at anti-government
protesters in Manama Friday, wounding at least 66. Four were
killed and 50 others injured earlier when security forces attacked
sleeping protesters in the city Thursday.
So far, there is no report of any Indian being harmed in the
country as well as in the protests sweeping Libya, Yemen, Jordan
According to Irudayarajan, it is "very early to predict" if there
will be an exodus of Indians from the area, like after Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait in 1990 or more recently, after the economic
"It seems people there have learned not to panic in such
situations," he said.
Jacob Mathew and his wife, living near Kochi, are watching the
situation in Bahrain closely because their son and daughter are
"We speak to them twice daily and we know they do not want us to
get worried so they say that things are fine and there is nothing
to worry. But we are always watching TV and reading newspaper
reports, which also show that things are a bit tense there,"
"We are praying and we have told them that they should be
careful," said 65-year-old Mathew.