`Dozens of Punjabis in UAE illegal alcohol trade`

According to the report, there are around 1,00,000 Punjabis in the UAE.

Dubai: Bloody turf battles to control illegal alcohol trade in the labour camps of UAE have landed dozens of Indian youth in jail, a news report here has said adding that many of them are facing death for allegedly killing rival gang members in Sharjah and Dubai.

According to the report, courts in UAE have sentenced 22 young Indian men to death in the last three years and many others face capital punishment.

According to a Gulf News investigation, of the 60 youngsters, aged between 19 and 28, who are on death row or are being prosecuted, 59 are from Punjab and one from Haryana.

These include the 17 Indians who were sentenced to death for killing a Pakistani during a territorial fight to control the illegal liquor trade in Sharjah.

According to the report, there are around 1,00,000 Punjabis in the UAE.

SP Singh Oberoi, founder member of the Indian Punjabi Society in Dubai, told the newspaper, the root cause for the malaise could be the extreme poverty in some pockets of Punjab where families barely have two square meals a day or a roof over their heads.

"The Punjabi youth held on bootlegging charges in the UAE are from poverty-stricken backgrounds. With hopes of a turnaround, they took hefty loans to come here and work as carpenters, plumbers and labourers," Oberoi was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Most youths involved in bootlegging cases were initially hired for skilled jobs and were earning up to Rs 14,940 (1,200 dirhams) a month.

But soon they were drawn towards another trade – the lucrative and dangerous business of bootlegging that has killed an unspecified number of people in gang wars, the report said.

Plying alcohol in labour camps, they earn up to Rs 6,225 (500 dirhams) per day, the sources said.

In August, the newspaper had uncovered the illegal alcohol business in labour camps around Jebel Ali area of Dubai found that the trade was dominated by Indian Punjabis.

Various factions with 40-50 youths man these areas. Territories are clearly defined and trespassers are dealt with ruthlessly.

Turf wars are routine and have already claimed many lives.