"But the employer later changed his stand and left the Kerala workers in the lurch."
Thiruvananthapuram, June 27 - Forty seven Indian workers in Kurdistan in strife-torn Iraq are facing attacks from local workers as the Iraqis feel they are taking away their jobs, a Kerala worker said, adding they wanted to return to India.
Locals' attacks on us have increased ever since the strife in Iraq has increased. The locals are against us as they feel Indians are taking away their jobs, said a welder from Kerala, who has been in Kurdistan for the past seven months.
Speaking to IANS over phone, the welder said the attacks were for no reason and things have become tough for them. However, he added that his place was untouched by attacks from Sunni insurgents, unlike some other Iraqi cities.
He said the workers from Kerala were being attacked by the locals only.
For the past one week, they have started attacking us physically. Our employer is not doing anything to protect us. We have stopped going for work and have all decided to return to India, said the Kerala worker who did not wish to be identified.
The worker said they are in touch with the Kerala chief minister's office and have requested that they be brought back safely.
He added they got in touch with the Indian ambassador in Iraq Friday and told him that all 47 of them wanted to return.
Nineteen are from Kerala, while the rest are from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. They are also in touch with their state governments, he said.
He complained that their employers have not given their salary of $600 for the current month and are now demanding to be paid $2,500 if they wanted to return.
He said that when they wanted to file a complaint against the locals for attacking them, their employer persuaded them not to do so.
...He (the employer) said he will take care of us, the worker said.
But the employer later changed his stand and left the Kerala workers in the lurch.
The ambassador is aware of the issue and we are now hoping to hear from him about our return, added the worker.