Mangaluru: Languishing at a sheep farm in Saudi Arabia for the past five months, two youngsters from Dakshina Kannada are seeking help from the Indian embassy in the gulf country to return home.
Damodar Shettigar, 31, of Gandhinagar in Ganjimat near Mangaluru, and Puneeth Jayaraj, 25, of Mulki left for Saudi Arabia in December last year to work as auto spray painters. However, it was only after they reached the country that the duo realised that they would be asked to look after a sheep farm.
In a telephonic conversation , Shettigar said that, while they were being fed, they had not been paid any remuneration so far. “We filed a complaint with the Indian embassy through MADAD, an online consular grievances management system of the Ministry of External Affairs on April 4. We’ve been keeping the agencies in Mangaluru and Mumbai abreast of our problems here,” he said.
Shettigar said that both he and Jayaraj had paid Rs 78,000 each to the agent to obtain visas and for other expenses. “We told the agent that we were not given the job that was promised when we applied for the visa. The agencies kept promising us that we would be shifted to a workshop soon, but we are being tortured here,” said Shettigar, adding that their passports had been withheld by their visa sponsor.
Jayaraj said that they had to work in the scorching heat. “We’ve been requesting the Indian government to help us return home as soon as possible,” he added.
Complaint registered under ‘repatriation’ category ,The status of the complaint registered under the ‘repatriation’ category on MADAD by Jayaraj reads, “The caller, Mr Puneeth went to Saudi Arabia on December 20, and was working with Shams Auto Car Maintenance. Citizen was not paid salary for the past four months. Kafeel ( sponsor) has ceased the citizen’s passport, and not allowing the citizen to return. The caller has requested repatriation to India as soon as possible.”