New Delhi: Over 6,500 Indian nationals are jailed in foreign countries, with a majority of them in the Gulf countries of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, the answer to a Right to Information (RTI) application has revealed.
In reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Subhash Chandra Agarwal dated April 4, 2013, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said there are 6,569 Indians held in jails in 112 foreign countries.
"The number of prisoners keeps changing," the ministry added.
According to RTI findings, Saudi Arabia has 1,691 Indian prisoners, Kuwait 1,161 and United Aran Emirates (UAE) 1,012.
"The major cause of imprisonment in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were rape, robbery, drug trafficking, fake iqamas (Islamic calls to prayer), immoral relationships, traffic accidents and sale of liquor. The UAE , which has over 1,000 prisoners, has not revealed the offence or allegation against the prisoners," the RTI reply said.
Apart from the Gulf countries, India's neighbours hold many Indians in prison. Pakistan has 254 Indian prisoners, most of them fishermen; China has 157 Indians lodged in its prisons, over charges like drugs or human trafficking, robbery and forgery.
Nepal has about 377 Indian prisoners, who face charges like kidnapping, possession of illegal arms or drugs and theft. Bangladesh has 167 Indian prisoners.
While 112 countries had Indians lodged in jail, the ministry said it also did not receive a "nil report" from 44 countries, so the numbers of Indian prisoners abroad could be higher.
Other foreign countries with a large number of Indian prisoners were Britain with 426; USA - 155, Malaysia - 187 and Singapore - 156.