A call for help from a 34-year-old man from Tripura to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter worked and he was back home within days after he complained about being ill treated by his employer in Saudi Arabia.
Gopal Das, who went to Saudi Arabia nearly two years ago for a job, landed at Agartala Airport on Thursday.
The resident of Barpathari village in South Tripura District claimed he had not received his salary for the last six months and was tortured by his employer when he asked to be paid. Das said he had to take shelter in a garage after he was kicked out of the house last week, after which he called his wife and told her about his situation.
His wife brought the matter to local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ranjit Sarkar, who in turn sought the party’s media cell coordinator Russell Sinha’s help. Sinha suggested Das forward him a video talking about his plight and requesting the Prime Minister’s help to rescue him.
Sinha tweeted Das’ video crying for help on August 31 tagging Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others.
The Indian embassy in Riyadh responded to Sinha’s tweet and asked him for Das’ phone number. After verifying the contents of the video, the embassy contacted Das and rescued him.
Swaraj, who is followed by over nine million people, has earned praise in the past for helping Indians abroad, who reach out to her through Twitter.
Swaraj’s external affairs ministry has launched a ‘Twitter Seva’ to ensure timely, transparent and large-scale response to citizens’ tweets in real time. The service is being supported by 198 Twitter accounts of Indian missions abroad and 29 regional passport offices.
Swaraj was named in the Global Thinkers of 2016 list compiled by the Foreign Policy magazine. The magazine recalled how, when around 10,000 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia faced a “food crisis” earlier this year due to job losses, Swaraj tweeted about the issue to her followers on the social media website.