GDN: THE first group of six workers out of more than 50 expatriates stranded in Bahrain for up to five years under a travel ban will return home today.
Workers at the Abdulla Nass Contracting Company were slapped with a travel ban after the firm lodged a complaint against them for reportedly not showing up for work.
A court earlier ordered the men to pay compensation ranging from BD400 to BD600 for violating their contracts.
However, the men claimed they left the firm long before they discovered they were subject to a travel ban, which they only learnt about when they tried to leave Bahrain during last year's amnesty for illegal workers.
The six workers are scheduled to travel home today after completing their legal formalities.
Company managing director Samir Nass earlier confirmed the case against the workers had been dropped on humanitarian grounds.
The company's decision was welcomed by Latheesh Bharathan from the Maha Jaber law firm, which followed the case through the Civil Appeals Court.
"We are all happy that finally we will meet our families back home," said worker Deepak Singh, who has been representing other workers and following their cases with the company and the law firm.
"We are grateful to the embassy, our company and the lawyer for resolving our case," he added.
Indian Ambassador Mohan Kumar had also taken keen interest in the case and asked embassy representatives to follow it up.
First secretary Ajay Kumar and second secretary N K Chaudhary were involved in negotiation with the company.
The company earlier waived the fine against worker Raju Doggiya to allow him to return home after his brother died in a car accident.
The men came from Punjab, Madras, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and claim they paid around BD800 to secure a visa.
A total of 128 workers were originally included in the ban, but only 54 came forward seeking help.
No information was available about what happened to the others.
But India-based Migrants Rights Council vice-president M Bheem Reddy, who has been following the case, said the other workers were still stranded due to a travel ban.
"When we received the case, we approached the Indian government and the embassy in Bahrain for help," said Mr Reddy from Hyderabad.
"After negotiations, the workers who were represented by a Bahrain lawyer were allowed to go back after the company withdrew their case," he added.
"But other workers are still stranded in Bahrain.
"Hopefully the company will consider their cases as well and allow them to go home," Mr Reddy said.