The Kuwait State Security Department picked 11 Mangalureans and sent them to India, 10 days after they performed Sathnarayan Puja at a hall belonging to Friends of Kannur Expats Association (FOKE). Nearly 170 Indians along with their families participated in the puja and Ramachandra Sharma, engineer in Andhra Pradesh performed the puja rituals.
Yadav Poojary, Ashok Salian, Satish, Anil Shetty, Kumar Poojary, Prashanth Shetty, Umesh Shetty, Arun Shetty, Purushotham Kukyam, Jayakrishna Alva, these are the people who were deported to India.
Reportedly, Santhosh Rai worked as a painting inspector and Ashok Salian worked a mechanical foreman, rest of the members are employed in the catering company Damac.
“We are still not sure why we were picked up by the police. It was reported in some sections of the media it was because we had not taken permission to perform the puja and played loud music. Some alleged that we were picked after the police suspected that we were into black magic and religious conversion. The fact remains that through the Navachethana Welfare Association – a social service association in Kuwait – we have been performing such pujas since 2011, the year the organisation was inaugurated, and since then we have never taken permission since it is being held in a closed hall. Several organisations and people from different states perform such pujas. In case it was being held outdoors, permission would certainly be needed. We were also not picked on the day the puja was performed, but almost 10 days later. We suspect that we were falsely charged by some unknown persons,” said Purushotham Kukyan, one of the expatriate.
Nine of them reached India on November 13, while two of them arrived on November 17. Mangalureans were quite happy with the hospitality they received in India but are still foggy about the reason as to why they had to face all this.
“We have done no wrong. We want to go back to Kuwait. All of us have put in 15-20 years of service. We cannot even get our luggage back,” said the expatriates.