The crime that we have done is begging - Indians lament as they have been living in a hell that they never wished to. The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and stumbling economy have pushed around 450 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia to the uncertain state of survival as with no jobs, they have restored to begging to win bread and the battle for survival.
After they have been identified begging, the Saudi authorities have shifted them to the detention center in Jeddah. According to reports, the work permits of most of these workers have got expired and they have lost their jobs, which forced them to beg. These workers belong to the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Bihar, and Kashmir.
Among the workers at the detention centers include 39 people from Uttar Pradesh, ten from Bihar, five from Telangana, four each from Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, and Karnataka, and one from Andhra Pradesh.
The video which captured their plight has gone viral in which the workers said that the only crime that they had done was begging. The Saudi authorities had identified them by going to their rented rooms following which they were shifted to the Shumaisi detention center in Jeddah.
According to news media, many workers said they were being trapped in a hopeless situation and they expressed their pain and anguish over their state of living and their desperate need to return to their home country. One of the workers at the detention centers said, "We haven't committed any crime and after we lost our jobs, we were forced to beg owing to our current situation. We are now languishing in the detention centers".
While lamenting about their state of survival, some of the workers said they have been pushed to encounter hardships for more than four months. The workers say that they are stuck in the Arab nation while the workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia have left for their respective countries through the efforts carried out by their home countries.
Another worker had made a video appeal in which he said that his brother was passed away recently and his mother has been critical. By citing that he needs to come back to India, he had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make necessary arrangements.
After their plight came to light, social worker and Majlis Bachao Tehreek leader Amjed had written to the Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia calling them to rescue these 450 Indian workers and bring them back to the country. Though the External Affairs Ministry had noted, the drive of rescuing the stranded Indian workers hasn't started yet, leaving them to brace more challenges and hardships amid the hope of getting reunited with their families.