Deported from Kuwait, a Bangladesh returnee faces multiple problems at home amid the pandemic
Bangladeshi expatriate Mohammad Sohag arrived in Dhaka early on Wednesday. Though he had his wife and children at a rented apartment in Mirpur, the Bangladeshi returnee now has no place to stay.
The landlord categorically told Sohag's wife that her husband will not be allowed in the apartment because he might end up contaminating others.
The migrant hailing from Noakhali district spent the rest of the night roaming around the streets, and then rested in a mosque after the Fazr prayers.
Mohammad Sohag is one of the 12 who testified against Laxmipur lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam aka Kazi Papul, who is in police custody in Kuwait on multiple charges including money laundering and human trafficking.
After a week-long police detention in the middle-eastern country, the 12 Bangladeshi people were deported home early on Wednesday.
"The landlord padlocked the main gate of the building with an extra lock as he heard that I am returning," said Sohag who returned home after a horrifying two years.
He added that he and his wife talked to each other at the entrance of the building without seeing each other. "They [the owner of the house] heard us talking there. But the landlord was strict on his decision."
I was completely exhausted after the long journey and being in police custody prior to that, I could barely stand on my feet, said the youth.
In the morning he contacted his relatives in Noakhali who even asked Sohag not to come to his village. However, they later changed their mind and the expatriate left Dhaka for his village home.
"You see how unfortunate we are. How all treatment at home felt like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire," he sounded upset.
To reach the oil-rich-Gulf country, Sohag sold almost everything he had — the piece of ancestral land and home on it. With eyes full of hope, he brought his wife and children to the rented apartment in the capital so that the offspring could avail better schooling.
The hope was short-lived as he found himself in total difficulty after reaching Kuwait. He would get half the wage he was promised, and had to work for 16 to 17 hours per day.
Sohag said the wage was equivariant to Tk20,000, and it was difficult to save anything from it to support the family in Dhaka. The situation could only be compared to punishment in the hereafter.
His wife Taniha said, "We need minimum Tk22,000 per month. My son's school requires Tk5,000 a month."
"I alone spent Tk9 lakh for sending him abroad — sold everything at his village home. We now have nothing left," said the wife. She said her house rent was due for the last couple of months.
Sohag said he gave Tk7 lakh to Monir, an assistant of Mohammad Shahid Islam, to go to Kuwait. They were promised daily 12-hour work and around Tk40,000 salary per month.
He added,"But I had to work 17 hours a day and used to earn 90 Kuwaiti Dinar [1 dinar = Tk275.99]. Even from the tinny income, Papul's men took 4 Dinar every day."
"They will torture you if you do not pay. Nobody dared to speak out. They took us to a desert during the pandemic. Later the country's law enforcers held us from there."
"The things that happened to me abroad were beyond my wildest imagination. I tolerated the torture as I had no other option, and tried to make my living. But nothing worked and I do not know how I will support my family in the coming days," Sohag concluded.