Lobby behind Indian deaths report: Qatar

Dubai, Feb 19: Ali bin Sumaikh Al Marri, chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee, has said that given the large number of Indians who live in Qatar, one cannot say the mortality rate among Indian expatriates in the country during the past two years is alarming.

Al Marri said a “vested interest lobby” was behind a sustained media campaign against Qatar in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, The Peninsula reported Wednesday.

Most of the construction projects related to the event employ foreign workers. Those publicising the mortality rates must explain the circumstances behind the deaths, the report quoted Al Marri as saying.

Indians constitute the largest expatriate group in Qatar and their number is almost double that of Qataris.

Al Marri said that if one looked at the mortality rates of Qataris during the last two years, one would find that the death rate of Indian expatriates was “natural”.

There are over 600,000 expatriate Indians in Qatar, many of them blue collar workers. Qatar, a country of just over two million people, has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.

The newspaper, citing India’s external affairs ministry, said that of the 241 Indian deaths in Qatar in 2013, only 14 were reported from construction sites. Of the 237 deaths in 2012, 13 were reported from work sites.

Western media reports had alleged that there was a high death rate among Indian migrant workers in the country.

IANS