Mangaluru: A total of eleven men, who were detained in Kuwait for offering Sathyanarayana pooja were deported back to their motherland. These men were the members of Navachethana Association, which was active in Kuwait, bringing together people from this region under one roof.
On their arrival back home, the members have suspected a foul play and opined that they must have been victims to devious plot of some unknown hands.
Victims KV Purushottham Kukyan, Yadav Sanil, Sathish Belvai, Kumar Poojary Vamanjoor, Umesh Shetty, Prashant Shetty Mijar who were employed in Dubai based DAMAC catering firm, Santosh Kumar Rai Kotekar employed as a Painting inspector in an oil company and Ashok Kodikal who was working as a Mechanical Foreman held a press meet at Hotel Woodlands here on Monday December 7.
Ashok Salian, Anil Shetty, Arun Shetty and Jayakrishna Alva are the others who were deported.
It is to be noted that all the eleven men were office-bearers and members of a social service organization named ‘Navachethana Welfare Association’ which is registered at the Kuwait embassy.
Narrating the incident, Purushotham Kukyan from Puttur said that the association has been organizing various religious and cultural programmes in a closed hall situated at the basement of a building as there is no permit to hold programmes in open. Similarly, on October 16, they held Satyanarayana Pooja in which around 150 members participated. In connection with this, on October 26, the Kuwait CID took Yadav Poojary into custody from his work place. His HR Manager handed over the passport to the CID. On the same night, another member Ashok Salian was also taken into custody. As many as nine members were detained in five days. Even the cause of the detention was not explained.
Kukyan recalled that the police questioned them about the pooja apart from basic inquiry and put them behind bars for a week. He said though there was no physical assault or ill-treatment, the police themselves did not know the reason for detention. “Our fingerprints were taken and then we were shifted to another prison from where we were deported. The collection of fingerprints signals that we have been blacklisted in the Gulf,” he added.
Though a few social activists appealed to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, they did not evoke any response which compelled them to contact the Indian Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and MPs of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Nalin Kumar Kateel and Shobha Karandlaje respectively.
“We have worked there for several years but we are yet to avail our benefits. Hence we need to go back to Kuwait. We have met Sushma Swaraj and Anant Kumar and they have assured that our names will be removed from the blacklist in Kuwait and that we would be able to join back our work,” former secretary of Navachethana Association said.