A harrowing tale of 'torture and survival' in the Arabian desert
Ambalappuzha: This is a story of a man who walked through ‘Poverty, brutal assault and the sweltering heat of the Arabian desert. When Anshad narrates his life story, one could feel that the characters of Benyamin’s novel Aadujeevitham had experienced much less in comparison to what Anshad has gone through.
Anshad who escaped from the trials and tribulations of desert life and reached his home at Ambalapuzha village, recounts his harrowing tale.
"I went to Saudi Arabia on 17 October 2017. Kafeel was waiting at the airport with his car. When we departed, I became curious to see that he was driving through the endless desert. I asked where he was taking me. Just then, he placed a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me if I shout. We travelled for more than 100 kilometres and reached a tent. I saw a Sudani and 37 camels.
As soon as Kafeel got out from the car, he started assaulting me and grabbed my passport. I was told to feed the camels. He ordered me to look after 25 camels and their 12 calves. At seven in the morning, I walked with the camels for 10 kilometres through the desert to graze them. When we returned, it became dark. He gave me 10 kg of Maida and 5kg of Chickpea for my food.
I should wake up early in the morning and prepare Chapati and Chickpea curry. Sometimes the camels begin to walk before I have my breakfast. I would be starved throughout the day. I would quench my thirst by drinking the salt water from the tanker. The water was meant for seven days.
Kafeel would not be seen four days a week. I could bathe only those days. Three months later, with the help of Siad, a native from kerala , I attempted to escape. But Kafeel followed me in his car and caught me. He brutally tortured me. I was grievously injured when he beat me with an iron rod on my spine and thighs. He locked me for 1 day without giving food and water. I was later transported to Bijariya. Before that Sudani escaped from the tent. I was alone. After completing 2 years, Kafeel refused to give my salary.
When I realised that I could not tolerate anymore, I made my second attempt to escape from the tent on October 6. But people followed me, caught me and took me to the police station. Kafeel assured them that he would send me home and would give my salary. Later I was taken to the tent, and Khafeel had his revenge. He thrashed me. He grabbed my face and struck violently. He threatened me that if I made any more attempts, I would be killed.”
During that time, the police carried out an investigation. When I was taken to the police station, I noticed Naushad and a man from Indian embassy. Police forced Kahafeel to pay me the complete salary. I have to thank many people for my freedom especially Mathrubhumi. When people showed the news in the newspaper, the police took this supportive stance. I would not go abroad anymore. I want to work here as a taxi driver and lead a happy life with my family. “