Sushma Swaraj seeks info on Indians jailed abroad for action

Sushma-SwarajNew Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has directed all Indian missions in the countries where significant number of nationals were in jail to provide updated information for further action.

This came after the release of 40 Indian nationals, who returned today after being held in prison in Saudi Arabia for nearly one year for allegedly violating labour laws of that country.

The 40 Indian nationals hailing largely from Bihar and Rajasthan, who were working in Nesma and Partners Company at a project in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, had been in detention since 12 June, 2013 and had, after the verdict of the higher court, been sentenced to two months imprisonment.

Yet they were unable to return as the company owner had invoked his private right of compensation for the loss of property caused by the workers.

"The company, which had been reluctant to revoke its right for compensation, not only agreed to waive it but paid for the return passage of all the 40 workers, who arrived today in India," government sources said here.

They said that Swaraj has, as a follow up measure, asked "all Indian Missions where significant number of Indian nationals are in jail to provide updated information which will be monitored and acted upon, wherever required."

Significantly, there are total 5,986 Indians in foreign jails, out of which 1,400 (23 per cent) are in Saudi Arabia alone.-----PTI