A Nepali national, Beeshu Raj, was beaten to death and six others injured in a riot involving Asian workers, mainly of Indian and Nepali origin in the labour camps of Arabtech in Jebel Ali on Thursday night.

By Riyasbabu & Amira Agarib (Staff Reporters)

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Published: Sun 6 Nov 2005, 12:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:22 PM

Police arrested seven Indian nationals, one Pakistani and nine Nepali nationals in connection with the incident. They were referred to Criminal Investigations Department of Dubai Police. The body of the deceased was taken to the morgue and the injured were admitted to Rashid hospital in Dubai.

According to eyewitnesses, “the fight started on Thursday night in the canteen of the labour camp and later spread to the rest of the camp, when Nepali and Indian nationals fought each other as two groups.”

“It was Eid evening, so the workers had a holiday and most of them were drunk. The problem started at around 10 pm in the canteen when a Nepali national hit an Indian on his shoulder while walking past him inside the canteen. This turned into a major dispute and groups of workers started shouting at each other leading to a riot, which spread to the second floor of the camp and to the yards with Indian and Nepali inmates of the camp joining the fight pelting stones at each other and beating up workers with wooden shafts,” the eyewitnesses recounted.

They said the warring groups broke windowpanes, chairs and other furniture at the camps. The area houses four labour camps close to one another providing accommodation to around 3,000 workers.

Two police patrol cars arrived at the site immediately but found it difficult to control the rioting crowd which comprised more than 200 workers armed with wooden shafts and stones. According to a Dubai Police source, the police officials who tried to stop the fight were also attacked by the workers following which the emergency wing of Dubai Police rushed to the spot . The special task force took almost one hour to bring the situation under control.

The police source said the deceased man had been beaten up brutally. The police is investigating the cause of the dispute and the worker's death.

" We consider this as a serious incident as it relates to the security of the country. If the culprits do not confess and come forward, all of the camp inmates will be held responsible for the incident and serious action will be taken against these workers," he said, adding that investigation is in progress and the culprits will be traced soon.

A worker told City Times that regular disputes take place between workers on weekends because many of them get drunk and have nothing much to do ."A number of people sell alcohol in this area illegally and it is available at the doorsteps of their camps. The bootleggers hide the bottles inside the sand making it difficult for the police to control it.”

Another labourer urged the authorities to take strict measures to prevent the labourers from drinking in their camps. "The drinking habit among the workers is creating a bad impact because they have tensions at their workplace during the day and they try and settle scores after they are drunk in the evening.”

An Arabtech Company official when contacted refused to comment on the fight but pointed out, “It is a common phenomenon in most labour camps in the UAE. So Arabtech incident cannot be singled out.”

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