New Delhi: Over 6,000 Indians are currently languishing in foreign jails with maximum of 1,400 being lodged in Saudi Arabia, for range of crimes like violation of visa rules, overstay, illegal entry and robbery.
Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said a total of 6,101 Indians are imprisoned in various countries.
"As per records available, there are about 6,101 Indian prisoners in foreign jails for crimes like violation of immigration/visa rules, overstay, illegal entry, robbery, non-possession of valid travel document and valid visa/permit," he said.
Khurshid said some Indians have also been jailed for grave offences like drug trafficking, murder and rape.
He said 1,400 Indians are lodged in jails in Saudi Arabia followed by 996 in the United Arab Emirates, 637 people in United States, 443 in Pakistan, 431 in United Kingdom, 377 in neighbouring Nepal and 146 Bangladesh.
As per the figure provided by Khurshid, 99 Indians are languishing in Pakistani jails even after completion of their sentence.
The number of Indians lodged in China is 128 while 129 people are languishing in jails in Italy, 78 in Bahrain, 242 in Kuwait, 284 in Malaysia, 103 in Oman, and 40 in prisons in France.
Indians are also lodged in jails in various other countries including Australia, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Denmark Greece and Mauritius.
The Minister said Indian Missions always strive to respond promptly to appeals by Indians in distress.
He said as a result of the consistent efforts of the government, 37 civil prisoners have been released from Pakistani jails since 2012.
Replying to a separate question, Kaur said 229 fishermen, believed to be Indian nationals and over 740 boats, are in custody of Pakistan. She said 86 fishermen and 54 boats are in custody of Sri Lanka.