Jeddah: The government of Saudi Arabia got an Indian national freed from the slavery of 18 long years and sent him to his hometown, Chennai in India.
The Indian national, Periaswamy, was enslaved by his employer in Saudi Arabia for 18 years. He was forced to work as a shepherd and his employer neither paid him salary nor allowed him to go back to India.
Periaswamy was lucky enough that a Saudi citizen came to rescue him and reported his difficulties prevailing over 18 years to the police. The Saudi government took the notice of the issue and commanded his employer to pay all salary dues to Periaswamy and provide him with an air ticket to reach his motherland without any delay.
Periaswamy, a 45-year-old man, came to Saudi Arabia almost two decades ago for earning livelihood from Karkudi village in Perambalur district in India.
His difficulties were seemingly not over even after landing on the airport at Chennai as the Indian police detained him for a couple of hours and inquired him in suspicion of being the husband of a deserted Indian woman.
As soon as Periaswamy landed on the Indian soil, the airport police took him into custody and he was taken to the police station for formal inquiry. The police suspected him to be the husband of the woman from his native district who had filed a complaint that her husband had left for Saudi Arabia 12 years ago but his family never heard any words from him since then.
The police called the brothers of the woman to identify Periaswamy if they had captured the right person. However, they confirmed that Periaswamy was not the person who had married their sister and abandoned her. Their testimony allowed Periaswamy to leave the police station as a free man thus ending an era of difficulties for him.
Emotions ran high when Periaswamy saw his brother Kannappa who came to the airport to receive him. They hugged each other and cried.
Kannappa said, "I could not recognize my elder brother. After showing him old photographs, we hugged each other and cried. We thank the Indian diplomats and Saudi officials for helping him return home. We don't know the whereabouts of his wife as she left a year after he left for Saudi Arabia."
Periaswamy amid tears stated, "I feel so happy to be home again with family. I have been through hell and no Indian should suffer my fate. I was a slave at the hands of my employer who used to beat me up. My future is uncertain. I will decide what to do after a few days. Please don't trust agents who promise jobs in Saudi."
S D Moorthy, Consul (labor & community welfare) at the Indian consulate in Jeddah, termed the incident of Periaswamy a real sad one and condemned his slavery where he had no access to telephone, salary and sufficient meal.
He also informed that Periaswamy has forgotten Tamil language (his mother tongue) and worked as a shepherd in the Hali region of Saudia Arabia since 1994. Periaswamy also tried to commit suicide once out of frustration during his slavery, he concluded.