Lured with jobs, 35 In­di­ans held ‘cap­tive’ in Malaysia

The New Indian Express - - INDIA -

KOLKATA: A Kolkata-based NGO has sought as­sis­tance from the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs to res­cue 32 peo­ple from West Ben­gal, al­legedly held cap­tive in Malaysia by two or­gan­i­sa­tions that had hired them.

The Na­tional Anti-Traf­fick­ing Com­mit­tee has also writ­ten to the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice and the West Ben­gal Chief Min­is­ter’s Of­fice to come to the res­cue of the peo­ple, whose plight came to light through a video shared on What­sApp, an of­fi­cial of the NGO told PTI on Fri­day.

In the video, two peo­ple from the group claimed that af­ter reach­ing Malaysia, pass­ports and visas were snatched and they were taken to Kuching, cap­i­tal of the Malaysian state of Sarawak.

“The two said that they, along with 23 oth­ers, were locked in one room in Malaysia by a casino staff, while seven oth­ers were held cap­tive in an­other room,” Sheikh Jin­nar Ali of the NGO said.

The group of 32, in­clud­ing two chil­dren, be­long to the dis­tricts of North and South 24 Par­ganas, Hooghly and Birb­hum, he said. Ali said In­dian High Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials have in­formed the NGO that Malaysia po­lice have started a probe into the mat­ter and were able to lo­cate their where­abouts at Kuching.

He said 32 peo­ple were ini­tially lured with a hefty pay pack­age in Malaysia by a man named Kabir Hus­sain, who runs a job con­sul­tancy firm at Gopal­na­gar in North 24 Par­ganas district.“They were made to pay Hus­sain some­where around Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000 be­fore they were taken to Malaysia on tourist visa, in Septem­ber,” Ali said. Fol­low­ing this, some of the peo­ple were “sold to a casino, while the oth­ers were sold to a con­struc­tion com­pany” in that coun­try, the two said in the video mes­sage. They also claimed that the casino staff have threat­ened the peo­ple that only their “bod­ies would reach home”. Ali said they were de­nied food and med­i­cal as­sis­tance in cap­tiv­ity, ac­cord­ing to the video mes­sage.

“When we con­tacted their fam­i­lies, they claimed to have paid agents of Hus­sain a hefty amount to bring the group back from Malaysia. De­spite pay­ing the sum, they were not al­lowed to re­turn to In­dia,” he said.

The Na­tional Anti-Traf­fick­ing Com­mit­tee was in­volved in bring­ing home a few gold­smiths stranded in Iran re­cently.

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