35 Nepali workers rescued from Kashmir arrive

Kathmandu, May 20: Thirty-five Nepali workers who were recently rescued from Kashmir, India, have arrived in their villages. Social activist Saroj Ray played a key role in rescuing them from India. Activist Ray said that they handed over the rescued workers to their families through the offices of local bodies of concerned districts.  

Altogether 41 Nepali workers were taken hostage in India. Among them, 22 people from Mahottari, 11 from Sarlahi and two from Dhanusha were recently rescued at the initiation of activist Ray. All of them belong to backward communities and are aged between 15 and 44 years.

Three months ago, 41 Nepali workers who had gone to Kashmir after falling into the trap of two Indian brokers were taken hostage by a contractor in Kashmir and were forced to work.

The contractor tortured them and did not even give them wages. The contractor took away their cash, citizenship certificates and mobile phones and forced them to work. The incident did not remain secret when six of them escaped and came to Nepal, said Ray.

After knowing the inhumane incident, Ray informed the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal Embassy in New Delhi and ‘Kin India’ about the matter. 

At the same time, activist Ray reached Kashmir via New Delhi in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Nepal in India to rescue them. Ray also sought the help of an Indian social organisation called ‘Kin India’ to accomplish the task.

Indian agents from Bihar had come to Nepali villages three months ago to lure the workers. Ray said that two Indian agents took them to Kashmir from different villages of Sarlahi, Mahottari and Dhanusha districts promising them good pays. He further said that an atmosphere of trust was created by giving Rs 7,000 in advance to each. However, he said that they were taken to Kashmir and made them hostage.

A 38-year-old Ranjit Chaudhary of Dhanusha who was rescued said that they were treated inhumanely. “We went to Kashmir for work after we were told to offer Nepali rupees 1100 per day. We were told to work in the construction of canals in Jammu. But we were taken to Srinagar in Kashmir,” he said. 

Arjun Sada of Sarlahi district said that he was never served good food. They were kept away from contact with their family members. He further added that they were living in a very difficult situation for three months.

Ray said that it took 15 days to complete all the procedures to bring them to Nepal. Two contractors were arrested and detained by the Kashmir police on charges of taking the Nepali workers hostage.  

Ray said, “The local police helped us identify the location of the victims and take them out.”

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