New Delhi, Jul 8: Nearly 2,000 Indian workers have been detained and taken into different jails in UAE on charges of rioting.
Most of the workers arrested are from the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and were working in a ceramics manufacturing unit in the emirate of Ras al Khaimah. The workers were protesting against poor quality of food that was being served to them. Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmed, confirmed that employees of RAK Ceramics indulged in arson by burning vehicles and destroying furniture and are now under arrest. Talmiz Ahmed also said "the workers went on a rampage at their camp over poor quality of food served to them," and added that the entire workforce has been arrested which number 2300.
While there have been strikes by Indian workers in the past in the UAE over poor working conditions and unpaid salaries, which have led to the Dubai riot squad being called in, this is the first time the UAE army has been pressed into service to arrest Indian workers for rioting.
Minister of Overseas Indian affairs, Vayalar Ravi, said that his department "is in touch with the UAE authorities". There were people of other nationalities, too, involved in the rioting, he said. "We are trying our best to get the Indians released. The labour officer attached to the Indian consulate is in constant touch with the UAE officials."
All the workers have been questioned and their fingerprints taken. Those found to be involved in the violence would be deported after serving their prison terms. Ras al Khaimah, where the violence occurred, and Abu Dhabi, are among the seven emirates that make up the UAE.