Fifty-seven carpenters from India are stranded in Iraq after their employers left the strife-torn country, according to media reports on Saturday.
“We feel we are in jail. Every time the phone rings, we wish it’s one with good news, but so far that has not come,” a carpenter from Kerala working in Iraq’s Basrah told IANS over the phone.
He said they have been in Basrah since July 2012 and their employers, who hail from Pondicherry have reportedly gone back to India, leaving them in the lurch.
“Fifty-seven of us from various parts of India are packed to return. We have stopped our work and are eagerly waiting to return," said the carpenter who did not wish to be identified.
He said Indian ambassador to Iraq, Ajay Kumar, called the stranded workers on Saturday but did not confirm when they will be able to return to India.
He said Kumar had advised them to email Kerala Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph regarding their condition and their plea to return to India. He added that they will email Kumar the details of their plight soon.
“At times, we hear loud sounds and we are scared and remain indoors. We all wish that the Indian government does something to get us out from here,” he pleaded.
News have also broken out about Indian nurses stranded in northern Iraq, where they have reportedly been ilving like prisoners at a state-run hospital in Tikrit after being abandoned by their employers as well as the military.
As many as 46 nurses from the southern Indian state of Kerala are in Iraq waiting for the turmoil to subside, NDTV and other media reported.
Authorities have reportedly asked the nurses to refrain from speaking to the media. Many of the nurses have reportedly stopped accepting calls from Kerala.
According to information, a few nurses were still going for work in and around Baghdad city, while in Tikrit, the 46 nurses from Kerala were mostly staying in their rooms and occasionally go to the hospitals when called for work.
Last week, 40 Indian construction workers were abducted in northern Iraq. The group had been working for a construction company in the city of Mosul, which has been overrun by militants waging a major offensive in Iraq.