KOLKATA: Made to cut grass for camel, wash utensils, slaughter goats and even occasionally drink water from camel’s pit, Bengal engineer Jayanta Biswas, who was enslaved for over 7 months in Saudi Arabia, warned against falling for agents promising better life in West Asia after his return to home on Wednesday.
“Young Indians hoping for earning money in West Asia are duped by the job agents right from India. They are promised one kind of work and after they land in West Asia, the Indian job aspirants realise that they have been taken for a bad ride,” he said.
“Not one person from South Asia I met there is happy. Torture at the hands of Arab Kafeel (employer) is a story of every south Asian migrant. Every south Asian migrant I met had to do menial chores for far more hours than promised, and live in hellish conditions,” he added.
Recalling his ordeal, the 23-year-old engineer said, “For the first 15 days, I could not believe I was enslaved. The moment I landed in Riyadh airport on May 15, my phone and passport was snatched
away. I was taken 90 km from Riyadh to a farm house. I had to live in a caravan vehicle with three more Uttar Pradesh natives and one Ethiopian. We had to work as shepherds of camel, cut grass for more than 50 camels, wash utensils and slaughter chicken and goat for the Sheikhs. I did not understand Arabic. The entire conversation was in sign language. Kafeel 32-year-old Naeef Faraz Bookme used to beat up even if I did not understand the sign language!”
“After 15 days and continuous pleading, I got the mobile phone back. On contacting Muneer Ahmed, my agent in Delhi, he asked for a video proof of the torture and work I was doing there. After sending
video proof, I was astonished when Naeef showed me the same video a few days later and beat me black and blue for sending the video to Muneer,” he added.
The torture began. He was sexually abused and forced to drink water from camel’s pit. One fine morning on July 17, with the help of a Nepali driver, Jayanta fled to Riyadh and sought help in Indian Embassy, only to be turned away and arrested by Saudi Police for case booked by Naeef for theft of 10,000 riyals and was jailed for two months.
“Saudi police does not listen to us. They even don’t let us know the cases registered against us, knowledge of which is a basic right in India accorded to accused persons,” Jayanta said.
Asked about help he got to return home, Jayanta is clueless. “Suddenly on Tuesday evening, kafeel Naeef brought me to Riyadh airport, gave my passport and ticket and asked me to leave the country. He
threatened to kill me if I am seen outside airport, while beating me,” Jayanta said.
The Mamudpur (North 24 Parganas district) native now wants to rest for a few days at home and search for work in India itself. “I will never ever go to West Asia again. I want to work in India,” he said.