Kin of six stranded in Malaysia seek their return

Special Correspondent
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It is alleged that the men were working as bonded labourers

Travails:Family members of the six persons at the Ramanathapuram collectorate on Monday.— Photo: L. Balachandar
Travails:Family members of the six persons at the Ramanathapuram collectorate on Monday.— Photo: L. Balachandar

Family members of six persons, who had gone to Malaysia two years ago in search of better prospects and had allegedly ended up as ‘bonded labourers’ in a restaurant, have sought the assistance of Collector K. Nanthakumar to arrange for their return.

The family members, in a joint petition to the Collector, said the six persons who were working in a restaurant in Malaysia escaped from there on June 10, following ill-treatment and irregular payment of salary, and took refuge in a friend’s room.

They also visited the Indian High Commission in Malaysia the next day and narrated their plight to the officials, but could not get any immediate relief, the family members said.

The six — M. Seeni Azad Ali (24), M.Anandaraj (24), M.Palanikumar (40), S.Mohamed Nisthar (35), A.Azarudhin (25) and A.Faizen Ali (23) — were unable to return home even though their friends arranged for their flight tickets as their passports were with the restaurant owner, the family members said.

The victims, hailing from Sakkarakottai, Manjur, Ragunathapuram, Emaneswaram and Thinaikulam, had gone to Malaysia through an agent to work in the restaurant.

Though they were assured a monthly salary of 1,400 Malaysian Ringgit (about Rs.25,000), the restaurant owner paid them only half the promised salary, while deducting the balance towards their ‘permit fee’.

Bonded labourers

Some money was paid once in three or four months, the family members said.

The family members said the six were virtually working as bonded labourers for 15 hours a day in the restaurant and they were denied proper food and sleep. They were under surveillance camera all the time and worked under constant fear, they added.

“My son spoke to me over phone after leaving the hotel on June 10 and since then there is no contact,” K.M.Mustthafa, father of Seeni Azad Ali, said.

A.Kalaivani, wife of Anandaraj, also said she had no contact with her husband for the past one week.

Her husband complained about the working conditions in the restaurant whenever he spoke to her.

He was sending Rs.10,000 to Rs.15,000 once in five months, Kalaivani, mother of three-year-old girl, added.

The Collector assured them that he would look into their complaint and initiate necessary action.



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