On the first day of Dashain celebrations, more than 350 Nepali migrant worker s landed in Kathmandu empty handed from Malaysia on Thursday night.
Including three women, 371 Nepalis were deported after authorities in Malaysia found them to have stayed illegally. Seventy of them have done time in Malaysian jails.
Unlike the usual possessions of migrant return ees—large bags and cases for example, a majority of those arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport on Thursday wore faded t-shirts, old trousers and sandals. Many of them were without a bag, in an apparent indication that they had left everything in the foreign land.
Shamsher Tamang, 24, of Semjong, Dhading, decided to flee the company that he was working for in Malaysia some 18 months ago. The company reportedly seized all his documents and made him work for over 16 hours for a pittance.
Tamang told the Post at TIA that he had wanted to return home but was not given any of his documents including the passport. After doing odd menial jobs here and there for some months, he was picked up by immigration officials and deported.
Man Bahadur Nepal of Sanne-2, Dhankuta was doomed in a situation harsher than Tamang’s. He was jailed for three months before being sent back by the Nepali Embassy in Malaysia.
“You cannot imagine the macabre situation that Nepalis are facing in Malaysian jails,” said Nepal. “There is no space to live. A large number of people are crammed in a single room and beaten repeatedly. Some could die as their wounds become severe without treatment.”
Nepal said he is glad to return home, despite troubles, to celebrate Dashain with
his family but is sad that he could not bring along any gift or money.
Clad in a white shirt and black trousers, Gopal Rai constantly scratched his thighs and hands. He thinks his hands and legs got the itchy dark patches from fellow jailbirds. Rai who hails from Kolbung-3 in Ilam was detained for three months after immigration officials caught him working as a security guard without “necessary” documents.
Lack of proper toilets caused infections among the inmates, he said.
“I am glad that I got back home safely. I will enjoy Dashain with my family and then think of ways to repay the loan taken by my parents to send me abroad,” said Rai.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung said there are around 600 Nepalis in Malaysian jails and 30,000 are staying there illegally. “We are effortful to bring others back,” he said.