Worker saved after nine-month ordeal

By ANIQA HAIDER ,  Posted on » Wednesday, July 28, 2010

 A NEAR-STARVING illegal Indian worker has been rescued after hiding in a burned-out house in Adliya for nine months.Rajay Kumar, 32, has been given food, clothing and a bed in a charity shelter, while embassy officials and volunteers make arrangements for sending him home under the Easy Exit amnesty.

The labourer came to Bahrain two years ago to work for a construction company, but ran away after friends convinced him he could get better wages elsewhere.

Mr Kumar ran away from the company and the accommodation it provided in search of a new job, but could neither find work nor a place to live.

He has been ‘squatting’ in the burned-out shell of a house ever since and says he was too afraid to return to his sponsor.

Mr Kumar’s plight came to light when he approached Al Mahmood Company site manager N K Mohammed Ali, who is also Malappuram Jilla Pravasi Association (MJPA) vice-president.

“As we have construction work going on at various sites, many jobless people approach us to get jobs and he was one of them,” said Mr Ali.

“He came to one of our sites in Manama looking for a job and my supervisor informed me about him.

“When I met him, he was in a very bad condition and told me his story.

“He also told me that he had decided to stay in a burned-out house as he had no other choice and was afraid to go out.

“He said that he was afraid to go back to his company or sponsor, thinking they would punish him for running away from them.

“He had no money and no food.

“I offered him a place to stay and volunteered to help him.

“I also asked him to immediately move out of that house as it could affect his health.”

Mr Ali said he took Mr Kumar to the Indian Embassy on Sunday, where officials have offered to provide an outpass.

“We are also going to pay the Labour Market Regularity Authority (LMRA) fine,” said Mr Ali.

“We have already applied to get the ticket from Indian Community Relief Fund (ICRF), which works under the umbrella of the embassy.”

Mr Kumar, from Kanya-kumari in Tamil Nadu state, is married to Bhagawati, who is in India.

MJPA general secretary Chemban Jalal said Mr Kumar was now living in the association shelter and they were providing him with food, clothes and basic necessities of life.

“We are trying to help him as much as we can, as his condition is really bad,” said Mr Jalal.

“It seems he has not eaten anything for many days and his clothes were very dirty, so we provided him with clothes as well as food.

“He (Mr Kumar) is now staying at the shelter provided by the association and we are regularly checking on his condition.

“He looks much better than the first day we met him.”

Mr Jalal advised workers not to listen to their relatives or friends and run away from their sponsors or companies they are hired to work for.

“We have several times urged workers not to run away from their sponsors or companies, as they won’t be able to get any job and their status will be marked as runaway or illegal,” he added.

“There are many cases where workers run away after being convinced they will get better wages outside.

“As they don’t know the rules and regulations of the Bahrain government and companies, they think it’s would be easy to find better earning jobs outside.

“But it’s not true at all. They must use proper channels to find jobs.

“They can always seek assistance from LMRA in case they need to transfer from one company to another.

“If they are not sure of what to do, they can always get advice from the embassy or associations or social workers.”