Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla on Tuesday threatened to sit on dharna outside Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi “if 24 women stuck in Oman are not brought back safely to India”.
These women are domestic workers who were allegedly pushed into slavery, and have now taken refuge in the basement car parking of the Indian embassy in Oman. Two out of these 24 women are from Punjab.
In his letter to Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar and Indian Ambassador to Oman, Munu Mahawar, MP Aujla wrote, “I am again forced to write to you with great anguish, as my previous mails and communication have not been responded to and the issue of Indians stranded at Muscat still persists….I have been informed that a few of the ladies stranded there have been repatriated, but around 24 ladies are still in a poor state both physically and mentally and the embassy officials are not providing them with basic amenities and information.”
He added: “I have been informed that these ladies (domestic workers) faced issues with their employers and had to take refuge with the embassy. Dr S P Singh Oberoi, Managing Trustee of Sarbat Da Bhalla Trust has again assured to fund for the evacuation/transportation of stranded Indians. The trust had also tried to establish contact with embassy but to no avail. I therefore request MEA and the embassy to speed up the evacuation.”
The letter said that if information is not provided to his office on his matter, he would be forced to protest outside the office of the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi “to seek justice for these ladies suffering immense trauma”.
Talking to The Indian Express, Aujla said, “These women are from different states of India. Two of them are from Punjab. They are in custody of Indian embassy. In the latest call, they told me that they had no supply of water for last two years. I am told that they have been kept in the car basement area of Indian embassy. They have taken refuge there because otherwise local government can arrest them due to lack of papers. Embassy is not even bothering to inform me that why they are taking so much time in sending these ladies back. What are the reasons that these women are not even provided decent living. They don’t have their own phones working. They call me from phones of those who are providing them food.”
He added: “We should understand that these women are from poor families. They were duped by the agents and were pushed into slavery. Somehow they escaped from poor working conditions and reached Indian embassy. But their suffering hasn’t come to end. If embassy people and MEA is not responding to emails of an MP then how can we expect them to listen to helpless women,” said MP
Aujla said: “I will be forced to sit on dharna if MEA does not react this time to my letter. I can’t wait anymore as I have to take painful calls made by these women about their suffering.”