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Indian Embassy brands FOKASA an ‘illegal organization’

The Indian Embassy Monday termed FOKASA “an illegal organization” and has rejected its statements against the judicial system of Saudi Arabia and the embassy for allegedly not utilizing the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) effectively.
Indian Embassy spokesperson Surinder Bhagat told Arab News that the embassy rejects statements made by illegal associations or self-styled social workers criticizing the judicial system of Saudi Arabia.
“We have seen a report attributing a statement to an illegal organization in Saudi Arabia called ‘FOKASA,’ which alleges that the majority of Indian citizens in Saudi Arabian jails are convicted without a fair trial. The embassy rejects such irresponsible statements casting aspersions on the judicial system of Saudi Arabia,” Bhagat said.
“The embassy reiterates its full faith in the judicial system of Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding the embassy officials regularly visit jails and deportation centers to render assistance to Indians in prison cells across Saudi Arabia. It said that it was in contact with Saudi authorities to address issues related to the welfare of the Indian community, including those serving prison terms or under trial.
The Indian Embassy is currently conducting inquiries into complaints of the alleged involvement of illegal associations and individuals in Saudi Arabia on cases related to housemaids.
The embassy is also reviewing allegations of bribery for acquiring information and offering legal assistance to Indians in distress and those in jails in Saudi Arabia, he said.
Bhagat said the embassy has sought information from FOKASA on cases related to housemaids as part of an inquiry, which it or any of its members handled during the last three years, in addition to information on issues of Indians involved in organ removal or organ donation and details of Indians in Saudi Arabia to whom FOKASA or its members offered legal assistance.
There are over 2.5 million Indians living in Saudi Arabia who abide by Saudi laws and regulations and enjoy the protection of Saudi judicial system, Bhagat said, adding that Indians are the “most preferred” expatriate community in Saudi Arabia due to their law-abiding and nature.
Bhagat reiterated India’s excellent bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and said the embassy is fully aware of its responsibilities toward Indian expats and will continue to address concerns of the Indian community within the framework of Saudi rules and regulations keeping in view the strategic partnership with the Kingdom and the welfare of Indian residents in Saudi Arabia.
FOKASA has alleged that majority of Indian citizens who are detained in jail and detention centers in Saudi Arabia are not in a position to hire a lawyer. They are convicted without a fair trial and even without knowledge of the charges made against them. It also said that the embassy of India in Riyadh and the consulate general in Jeddah are not utilizing the ICWF effectively.
The Indian Embassy also reiterated its gratitude to the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his humanitarian approach in announcing concessions and extension of grace period for overstaying expatriates to correct their status or to leave the Kingdom without facing penal action and without any ban on their return to the Kingdom.
The embassy expressed its gratitude to the Saudi authorities who are rendering their services to the overstaying Indians during Ramadan, including late night hours and urged all Indians in the Kingdom to fully utilize the concessions and grace period announced by King Abdullah.

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