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'Take up issue of stranded Keralites in Saudi Arabia'

Wednesday October 19, 2011 07:00:00 PM, IANS

Thiruvananthapuram: Thousands of Keralites and other Indians are awaiting amnesty from Saudi Arabian authorities to be able to return home, opposition legislator K.V. Abdul Khader told the Kerala assembly Wednesday, urging Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to intervene in the matter.

"Oommen Chandy should now intervene in this regard and take up the issue with the centre because I have got complaints from many people in my constituency that their near and dear ones are suffering in Saudi Arabia after their sponsors have deserted them," said Khader.

The situation in Saudi Arabia is such that many Keralites who have been dumped by their sponsors are now waiting to be arrested by the police so they can at least get food while they are in prison, Khader added.

"But what we are now told is that even police do not make any arrests and hence the people are left on their own. The state government should take up this case with the ministry of overseas Indian affairs," said Khader.

State Minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs K.C. Joseph assured the house that the needful would be done.

Speaking to IANS over phone from Dammam in Saudi Arabia, an office bearer of a Kerala-based social organisation said the situation is really grave, and added that the Indian embassy "appears to be sleeping" on this matter.

"We are getting reports from Sharafiya in Jeddah that a large number of Keralites who have been dumped by their sponsors assemble everyday under a bridge there hoping that the Saudi police would arrest them," said the Keralite who did not wish to be identified.

According to a study done by the Centre For Development Studies here, there are around 900,000 Keralites in Saudi Arabia.

"Last year, the Saudi authorities issued an amnesty to all those who came to Saudi Arabia on Haj, Umra and visiting visas, and it was a huge relief for thousands of Keralites. The present impasse can be solved if the Indian government takes up the issue with the Saudi authorities for a new amnesty to all in the labour category," said the Keralite.







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