The victims are held captive in the Myawaddy region which is not under the control of the Myanmar government and is dominated by ethnic armed groups. Some of the hostages who sent out messages to their families called their captors ‘Malaysian Chinese’.
The matter came to light after some Tamil men sent out an SOS video on Saturday, appealing to the Union and Tamil Nadu governments to rescue them. They said their employers were forcing them to work for more than 15 hours a day. When they refuse to do illegal work, they are beaten up and given electric shock, they added. The Indian embassy in Yangon, Myanmar issued an advisory on July 5 cautioning against ‘unscrupulous elements offering jobs’.
On Monday, a Raja Subramanian (60), a fisherman from Karaikalmedu appealed to the district collector of Karaikal in the UT of Puducherry to rescue his son who is among the Indian captives in Myanmar. Subramanian’s elder son Sudhakar narrated the story of his brother who was working as a data entry operator in Dubai.
“Earlier this year, his manager said he was given a promotion and asked him to move to their Thailand office. From Thailand, he and several others were taken illegally by road to Myanmar,” he said.
For security reasons, names of the victims are being withheld. “My brother said a few days ago his employers thrashed his colleague for refusing to do the illegal work. He sustained severe injuries on the head that required five sutures. His ears were torn,” said Sudhakar. “So far, we have rescued over 30 Indians,” said a source.
“Efforts are on to get back the rest of the people through contacts in the business community.” Politicalicians including AMMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran and CPI state secretary R Mutharasan have urged Union and Tamil Nadu governments to take steps to bring back Indians from Myanmar.