Reetesh Sharma, who had gone to Saudi Arabia with hope for a better future, returned to India after a four-year stint that would haunt him forever.
किसी एक लड़के का सऊदी अरब जाना लगभग बिहार के गाँव की कहानी सी बन गयी है, मगर ये घटना दिल दहलाने वाली है। बिहार के रीतेश शर्मा सऊदी अरब पहुँच तो गए मगर वहाँ उनकी जिंदगी नरक बन गयी। कैसे भी जान छुड़ा के ४ साल बाद वो वह से भागने में सफल हुए। On one hand while Mohammed Afsar’s family is fighting a legal battle to get his mortal remains back to India, another Indian worker’s Saudi stint has only been marginally better. He managed to come back to India alive. Mail Today spoke to another worker, Reetesh Sharma, who had managed to escape the wrath of his employers.
Much like Afsar, Reetesh from Bihar went to Saudi Arabia in a hope for a better future but his four-year stint turned out to be horror story that would haunt him forever. Reetesh returned to India on April 6 after years of terrible torture.
“I went to Saudi Arabia in December 2012. I was hired as a construction labourer with a good package. Later on, I realised I was trapped. My salary was not paid on time, my phone was confiscated. We were made to work for hours without any break. Any employee was found taking a break, the first thing they would do is snatch away our phones. We would also get beaten and abused,” Reetesh said speaking to MAIL TODAY.
“हम 2012 में सऊदी अरब गए जहां पर कंस्ट्रक्शन के काम में मजदुर के तरह हमको नौकरी दिया गया। यहाँ धीरे धीरे हालत बहुत ख़राब हो गया जब बहुत ख़राब बरताव किया जाने लगा। हमलोगो को सैलरी देर से दिया जाने लगा, फ़ोन जप्त कर लिया गया, घर से संपर्क टूट गया और नरक जैसा हाल हो गया था यहाँ।” रीतेश शर्मा ने ऐसा कहते हुए अपने दुःख का पिटारा खोल दिया।
“With no breaks to go back home it had become difficult to survive. We had become slaves who lived at the mercy of our employers,” he added.
आगे बताते हुए रीतेश शर्मा ने कहा, “बिना किसी आश के देश और घर से दूर, हम इस जगह चले आये थे जहां कोई रास्ता घर को नहीं ले जाता था। जिंदगी दास-दसियों से भी ख़राब हो गयी थी और हमारे मालिकों को का कोई हमदर्दी हमारे प्रति नहीं था।”
Talking about his narrow escape Reetesh mentioned that he had grown close to another employee named Abdul Sattar Makandar who had been suffering a similar plight. At the same time, the pressure to release Abdul had started building up. “Although Abdul is still stuck there, one day I was told that my ticket to India has been booked and I would be escorted back,” he said.
Afsar’s death and Reetesh’s story exposes the terrible plight of Indian workers in the Gulf.
Kundan Srivastava, a human rights activist who works closely with troubled Indian workers in Saudi Arabia told Mail Today, “I have been approached by several workers who want to come back but their passport has been taken away. They are denied food and basic necessities. The cruelty has no limit.”
Kundan claims that there is a whole nexus that operates through travel agencies that are given targets to send Indian workers to Gulf countries for labour work.
“There have been cases where the Indian workers were given a certain job profile during their appointment but when they reached they found out it to be completely different from what was promised. Some workers bear the pain thinking of their families in India,” he said.
In 2013, according to media reports around 28 lakh Indian workers were estimated to be working in Saudi Arabia forming the largest segment of the expatriate population there. About a sixth of those workers are from Kerala.
Saudi Arabia recently estimated that 30 per cent its foreign remittances went to India.
Source: India Today