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Tortured Odia labourers return from Malaysia, seek assistance


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Nachuni (Khordha), May 4:

Six men from Hatabaradiha village of Chilika Block in Odisha’s Khordha district finally returned to their village from Malaysia after being mentally and physically tortured there for over six months.

The six — Ranjan Routray, Samir Routray, Bikram Routray, Mithun Behera, Litu Parida and Sanjay Parida— were lured by three labour agents from Vishakhapatnam P Srinibas Reddy, Sagar and Abinash, who assured them of lucrative jobs in Malaysia.

They had to cough up Rs 80,000 each before they were sent to Malaysia on tourist visa in October last year.

After these youths reached Malaysia, they were engaged in a private company, Strike Force Ltd, where the owner and the manager forced them to work for 72-84 hours at a stretch while providing them with low quality food and accommodation.

Not only this, the company officials also did not pay their wages and even took away their passports to ensure they don’t run away.

When the tenure of their visa was over, these youths tried to contact the agents of Odisha and Vishakhapatnam but all in vain.

On the other hand, a Malaysian agent Nisha Mahalekchumi demanded Rs 1 lakh from these youths to send them back to their homeland.

Left with no option, the family members of these youths arranged the demanded amount and sent it to Mahalekchumi.

While their return process was on, the Malaysian police arrested Bikram and Litu for overstaying without visa and put them behind the bars for over three months while the other four associates ran away to a nearby forest to escape arrest and torture by the police.

The incident came to light after media reported the plight of these six Odia youths following  the joint efforts by ‘Abahana’, a Nachuni-based NGO , and Malaysian based Odia entrepreneur Sanjay Das.

The media reports helped and finally, all six of them returned to their village on the Labour Day, May 1.

Meanwhile, the family members of these youths have sought justice from the Central government, National Human Rights Commission and the Union Labour Commissioner and requested them to provide financial assistance to repay the loans they had incurred for the release of their kin from Malaysia.