- Parani Taran
- BBC Tamil
There is a continuous delay in the deportation of 16 Indians, including 13 from Tamil Nadu, who were abducted from Dubai to Myanmar for illegal work and returned to Thailand, from there to India. In this matter, Tamil Nadu First Minister M.K. Stalin has written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What is the current level of rescue operations?
16 Indians, including 13 Tamils recruited for illegal work in Myanmar, escaped from that country and were arrested by the Thai army last July when they entered the border. They were then produced in court by the local police. Since the youths who were caught had tickets and visas for coming to Thailand from Dubai, the Thai police identified them as ‘those who returned illegally from Thailand to the Myanmar border’ and filed a case.
If the foreigners are caught in such a case, the Thai government will collect the appropriate fine from them and then take steps to deport them. These fines can be paid by the ‘caught persons’ with their own money or through lawyers who have the right to represent them in court. Often the recruiting agents pay this amount and try to get them out.
In this situation, the court ordered the Thai Immigration Department to keep the 16 recently arrested Indians in a detention center until arrangements are made as they do not have the cash to pay the fine.
But the Indian youths were handed over to the immigration department as they did not have enough cash to pay the fine. The department interrogated the youth separately. Subsequently, the Thai authorities first detained the Indian youths and then transferred them to a detention center for illegal immigrants.
Chief Minister’s Letter – Expedited Action
According to the latest information, the arrested Indians including Tamils are being held at the Immigration Detention Center at Soi Suwalplu, Sathorn District, Bangkok.
Meanwhile, a video posted by the youth demanding their rescue went viral on social media last week. After that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin wrote to the Prime Minister of India requesting the release of the youths.
The center, which has a long wall like a prison on all four sides, allows detainees to use cell phones unofficially to get legal help. The 13 Tamils are communicating with the government officials in Tamil Nadu and Indian embassy officials only through that mobile phone.
BBC Tamil continues to speak to some of them. One of the detainees, Arun Kumar (name changed) told us, “First of all, the detention center where we were kept was not very restrictive. No one from outside could visit us. We were only allowed to use mobile phones for a few hours a day on a paid basis. We were kept in the center for almost a month. .It was only in the last week that we were allowed outside food for one day a week by a local Muslim organization,” he said.
Sudden transfer to another center
“Last Sunday evening, 16 Indians, including 13 Tamils, were transferred by Thai immigration officials to another center two campuses away. The center has almost prison-like restrictions.” Tamils there told BBC Tamil.
When our correspondent spoke to them on Tuesday afternoon, “Tamil Nadu Government’s Commissioner for Welfare and Rehabilitation of Tamil Nadu, Jacinda Lazarus, a top intelligence officer is in touch with us. An Indian embassy official in Thailand is also in touch with us. They told us that the government will take all the help to get us back to Tamil Nadu. But, We don’t know when we will return home,” he said.
Meanwhile, BBC Tamil asked IAS officer Jacinda Lazarus in Chennai about the status of rescue operations for Tamils in the Thai center.
“For the past two weeks, the Indian Embassy in Thailand has been coordinating with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Government of Tamil Nadu in this regard. We are taking steps to speed it up as we have to fulfill some administrative requirements,” Jacinda said.
“The state government took steps to bring eight Tamils stuck in Thailand before the 16 Indians who have been caught now to Tamil Nadu via Mumbai. Similarly, we will take steps to bring 13 Tamils to Tamil Nadu very quickly,” Jacinda said.
Following this, we spoke to the spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. “The Indian embassy in Thailand has been asked to speed up the rescue operations. The arrested Indians are on foreign soil. They were taken from Dubai to Thailand and were taken to Myanmar without proper permission and re-entered Thailand. We are taking steps to rescue the Indians using the good relations between the two countries,” he said. .
Those trapped in Thailand last spoke to their parents and families two days ago. Since then, they have been transferred to another detention camp and communication between the two sides has been cut off. They are making efforts at various levels of the government to know the status of the children.
Some of them told us that they are worried that nothing will happen to their children in prison.
Who will book the ticket?
At this stage, the Indians in the detention camp will come to everyone Monday night BBC Tamil has come to know that the Indian Embassy in Thailand has sent information to book tickets for them on the flight to India.
It takes 3.30 hours to reach Chennai by non-stop flight from Bangkok. As of now the cost of this one-way trip is Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 18,000 is available. Rs. per person. 15 thousand, but the ticket cost for 13 people to come to Chennai is Rs. 1,95,000 to Rs. 2,34,000 upto.
It is questionable as to how Indians can book tickets to leave home while in the restrictive prison-like compound. A few days ago, Expatriate Tamils Welfare Minister Senji Mastan had said that the state government would bear the travel expenses of the rescued Tamils in Thailand.
Accordingly, the concerned parties were informed on Tuesday afternoon that the Tamil Nadu government will accept the travel tickets for 13 Tamils out of the 16 people in the detention camp.
Four more Tamils in detention camp
Among the 16 Indians currently in the detention camp in Thailand, not only are they from Tamil Nadu but also one each from Rajasthan, Punjab and Karnataka. A total of 13 people are from Tamil Nadu, two each from Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Karur, Vellore and one each from Ariyalur, Pudukottai, Thenkasi, Nilgiris, Pollachi and Trichy districts.
Meanwhile, four more Tamils, one each from Kanyakumari, Thanjavur and two from Tirunelveli, have been caught in the Thai detention center. They have been kept in the detention camp for the past four days.
It is also known that they, like the 13 Tamils, went to Thailand relying on foreign employment information and were taken to another place from there and forced to engage in illegal work.
BBC Tamil has learned that the Thai government will consider the possibility of deporting those who came to Thailand from Tamil Nadu through so-called ’employment agents or consultants’ after paying fines.
‘BBC Tamil’ has shared the information related to these Tamils to the Tamil Nadu government. Officials have said that they will take action to rescue them.
Action to arrest fake agents
When the Tamil Nadu government and the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs inquired about this, they said that they only had information about the rescue operation of 16 Indians, including 13 Tamils, and that they did not have written information about four more Tamils or how many people were there.
Apart from these activities, the state’s intelligence agency is keen to track down agents who have recruited and sent Indian youths from Tamil Nadu for illegal foreign jobs.
The intelligence officers contacted the Tamils trapped in Thailand and through them got information about the agents who worked as aides to these fraudulent employment agencies in Tamil Nadu. The state police is taking action to arrest the agents.
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