TOI Editorial: Kuwait fire tragedy…Indians also exploit Indian migrants

Ananya Shroff
3 Min Read


New Delhi : 50 migrant workers have died in a fire in a building in Kuwait. 45 of those killed in the accident that took place three days ago were Indian migrant workers. After the accident, the work of bringing back the bodies of these migrant workers to India is going on. The government is helping in this at its level. Community networks are an important enabling factor for Indians in finding work across the country and indeed around the world. However, the Kuwait fire that took the lives of 45 Indians is a reminder that such networks can also have a dark side.

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Trust and Betrayal

It is reported that the building where the deaths occurred was a fire hazard. This was because the building was using cardboard and plastic to divide the employees into cramped rooms. Their roof doors were locked. The accident was terrible. It was later revealed that an Indian was taking care of the building. He hired most of those who died in the accident. Somehow this is worse. It is obvious why. It is because now this has become a case where not only was workplace safety not provided in a foreign country, but an Indian employer also thought Indians did not deserve better. In addition, there is the controversial issue of illegal immigration, where credible stories and agents play an even more dangerous role. Indians have become the third largest unauthorized immigrant population in the US.

Kuwait fire incident: The building in Kuwait where 45 Indians died was full of flaws, big revelation in investigation

Country and abroad

The networks on which Keralites, Gujaratis, Punjabis and others rely to make legitimate homes around the world are an invaluable social and economic resource for India. The Kuwait fire reminds us that here too there are stories of desertion, betrayal, fraud or, in more simple terms, despair. Suppose students who are happy to receive help with transport, accommodation etc. from Indian student unions on landing on foreign campuses find these oppressive narrow-mindednesses. A public policy that tries to address all the worst perversions of human nature would be futile. Nevertheless, the Indian government must increase its efforts to ensure safe working conditions for overseas Indian workers. Their numbers are bound to increase. Experts suggest that a national-level migration database would be useful in this direction.

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