Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj met 35 relatives of the 41 Indian labourers who are being held in a Saudi prison for a year. The Hindu had reported on Tuesday that the labourers, from six States, continue to languish in a Makkah prison even after serving their terms for rioting, as their former employer has demanded compensation for damages.

In June 12, 2013, workers of Nesma and Partners in the holy city, protested after a 25-year old Indian electrician Haroon Rashid was electrocuted and the construction firm allegedly refused to pay for transporting his body back to Siwan in Bihar where he hails from.

After the meeting with Ms. Swaraj, Janata Dal (United) MP Ali Anwar Ansari told that she had assured them that she would bring back their sons.

“The Minister said she did not agree with the reasons given by Joint Secretary Mukta Tomar for their continued incarceration as our citizens have already served their sentence and suffered lashings. She promised she would talk to our ambassador in Riyadh (Hamid Ali Rao) tonight and bring our boys back home. After a year of fruitless petitions we are thankful to Sushmaji but requested her to urgently process this as there will be a three-month delay once Haj holidays begin there,” added Mr. Ansari.

Neither Ms. Tomar nor External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin were willing to comment but the latter confirmed that the meeting took place.

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