More than 1,600 Indians are languishing in jails of different Middle Eastern countries, the Parliament was informed on Thursday.
Approximately 1,400 Indians are lodged in Saudi Arabia alone, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
Indian missions in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have reported that there are cases of illegal migrant workers, but their exact number was not available, he said.
The data revealed that around 106 Indians are in jails in Oman, 72 in Qatar and 34 in Lebanon.
“In addition, there are 140 Indians lodged in deportation centres in Qatar. Mission in Saudi Arabia has reported that there may be some Indians who have been kept in deportation centres for completing formalities before they are deported to India,” Mr. Ravi said.
The Minister said during the grace period announced after Nitaqat in Saudi Arabia, around 1.4 million Indians availed concessions and got their status regularised.
“Around 60,000 Indian workers were issued emergency certificates,” Mr. Ravi said.
Embassy officials regularly visit the jail and provide consular assistance to the detainees. Efforts are made to seek their early release so that they do not languish in jails, he said.
Under Indian Community Welfare Fund, initial legal assistance is also provided to deserving cases and penalties imposed on Indians may also be paid for their release, he added.