The condition of over 1,200 Indian workers held hostage by a company in Angola was grim and the government should take immediate measures to expedite their release,a Gujarati worker who was among those stranded in the African country said here on Saturday on his return.
Talking to reporters,Vijay Valmiki said,The situation is grim for about 1,200 protesting workers. They had to take shelter in the forest to escape police wrath,local administration and company management ever since they began agitation in support of their demand 32 days ago, he said.
All of them were promised wages in American dollars but paid in local currency after which the agitation started,he said,adding they were taken hostage for protesting against the factory management.
Police had resorted to heavy firing… nearly 300 rounds were fired to scare them, Valmiki claimed.
We were not injured in firing because we took shelter in the forest. But a youth who was injured in the firing was kept in a hostel and not taken to the hospital, said Valmiki,who had gone to Angola to work in the electrical division of a cement factory.
Officials of the cement company,located near Sumbe city of the African country,have taken away the passports of all the 1,200 workers, he said.
Valmiki was carrying lists of the Indian workers whose passports were taken away by the company officials. He managed to return to Vadodara with an Immigration Certificate (IC).
The Centre is not doing much on the issue while the lives of 1,200 Indians are in danger in Angola, he said.
Ashish Maheshwari,a youth from Vadodara has been detained there and his whereabouts are not known, he said.
He said most of the Indian workers at the factory were recruited by a Chennai-based firm while he had got the job through a Vadodara-based placement agency.
There were around 40 youths from Gujarat who were working in the Angola factory. Four of them have returned to India,Valmiki said.