MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to produce 62 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who have allegedly been held hostage in Saudi Arabia by a contractor, within a week.
This came after a habeas corpus petition (HCP) was filed by G Thirumurugan, an advocate from Ramanathapuram, seeking a direction to the Union Government to rescue his close relative, K Sethuraja, as his passport and other belongings were in the possession of the contractor, Yousuf Khaleel.
The petitioner alleged that there were 61 others like his relative, who are facing similar situation.
These men were treated as bonded labourers, he added. The major portion of salaries are deducted by the contractor, who does not, however, provide them sufficient food and water, Thirumurugan said in his petition.
According to him, Sethuraja, who was working under Yousuf for the last six years, has been messaging his family recently about human rights violations they were facing in the gulf country. His wife and relatives of those stuck in Saudi Arabia had submitted representations to Ramanathapuram district administration. But no proper steps were taken to rescue them, claimed the petitioner.
Hearing the case, a division bench of Justices A Selvam and B Gokuldas ordered the secretaries of the External Affairs Ministry to produce all 62 fishermen before the court in April 28.