Indian mission in Bahrain settles dispute between workers, sponsors

April 9th, 2008 - 4:14 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, April 9 (IANS) The Indian mission in Bahrain has resolved a dispute involving Indian workers who had filed a complaint of physical abuse against their local sponsors. “Eleven Indian workers came to the embassy Monday and filed a complaint of physical abuse against their Bahraini sponsors,” an embassy official told IANS from Manama.

The workers, all hailing from Kerala, were employed by the Al Saeb Construction Company in 2006.

Two of the workers - T. Raji and T. Manikandan - sustained severe head injuries and fractured arms after their sponsor allegedly beat them up Sunday when they demanded their annual two-month leave and previous month’s salaries.

“When my colleagues approached him (the sponsor) and asked for salary and annual leave, he gave them the salary, took their signature on a blank paper and took the money back,” one of the workers told the Gulf Daily News.

“He then started beating them with a wooden plank and shovel. They suffered severe head injuries, fractured arms, bruises on their faces and bodies, and swollen lips and nose.”

Passers-by then took the injured duo to a nearby health centre from where they were referred to the Salmaniya Medical Complex for further treatment.

The embassy official said that on receiving the complaint, the mission called up the sponsors.

“The sponsors - three brothers - came to the embassy but they too alleged that they were physically abused by the workers,” he said.

The sponsors said that if the workers wanted to avail of their two-month leave, then they would have to leave the country permanently.

“We then worked out a compromise between the two parties. The sponsors gave in writing that they would behave properly with the workers and the workers too have promised not to create problems,” the official said.

Following the compromise, Raji and Manikandan quit their jobs and left for Kerala Monday evening.

“Two more workers will leave April 11 and the rest will follow as soon as their contracts are over in different times of the year,” the official added.

There are around 275,000 Indians in Bahrain and a large majority of them work as contract labour in the country’s booming construction industry.

Last month the sector was hit by a series of strikes by workers demanding hike in salaries as well as better living and working conditions.

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