Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The Families of Indian Workers Congress is planning to stage a fast in front of the Assembly building at Thiruvananthapuram to campaign against the mistreatment of 560 Indian blue-collar workers, including some 200 Keralites, in the U.S.

The fast is to draw the attention of lawmakers in Kerala to the sad plight of the workers, who had been cheated by job recruiters and allegedly kept in labour camps by the US company Signal that had hired them. The functionaries of the organisation said that a fast would be held in front of Parliament House when the next Parliament session begins. A public-interest suit would be moved in the Supreme Court.

The organisation is seeking the support of Indian lawmakers and the government to fight for the cause of the workers who had landed in the US on H2B visas. It wants the Government of India to step forward to lobby with the US Department of Justice to protect the rights of these workers.

The workers had paid huge sums of money to the Indian recruiting agency which had promised to secure green cards for them.

The workers, mostly South Indian skilled workers such as welders and fitters, had been allegedly kept in labour camps.

A 100 of them had escaped from these camps and had managed to bring the exploitation to the attention of American labour unions and government agencies.

The workers staged a fast near the White House, the Capitol and the Indian embassy.

Anannya Bhattacharjee, a functionary of the ‘Jobs With Justice’, a US-based organisation that works for immigrant labourers, said that the fast had attracted attention from US labour unions and civil rights activists.

They are pressing the Department of Justice to prosecute the company and to let these workers stay on in the US to help with the prosecution.