3,500 Indians in jails in Gulf countries: Vayalar Ravi
Around 3,500 Indians are lodged in different jails in Gulf countries for various offences as per reports given by Indian missions, the Rajya Sabha was told on Thursday.
As per figures made available by the ministry of overseas Indian affairs, 3,497 Indians are lodged in jails of Gulf countries with the maximum number of 1,400 in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi said.
While 1,025 Indians are lodged in prisons in the United Arab Emirates, 568 Indians are lodged in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) jails, he said.
Ravi said around 250 Indians are lodged in Kuwaiti jails while 106 are there in Oman. Qatar and Bahrain have around 72 and 76 Indians in their jails respectively.
"Some Indian nationals are jailed for crimes like violation of immigration/visa rules, overstay, illegal entry, non-possession of valid travel documents and others. However some Indians have also been jailed for grave offences like drug trafficking, murder, rape etc," Ravi said.
He said government remains alert to respond to requests by Indian citizens who are in distress and Indian mission gets in touch with local foreign office and other authorities to get consular access once information is recieved about any arrest.
In some countries where lawyers are available, the mission arranges such legal assistance to Indian prisoners, he said.
Apart from that, provisions under the Indian Community Welfare Fund for payment of small fines and penalties for the release of Indian nationals in jails is also utilised, the minister added.
Among the other steps taken by Indian Missions include requesting local authorities for speedy trials, seeking remission of sentence, providing advice and guidance in legal and other matters.