Hundreds of marginalized Indian workers were reportedly lured to New Jersey and coerced to work long hours for just a few dollars a day to build a massive Hindu temple, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The federal suit lodged by five of the laborers against the prominent Hindu sect known as Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) accuses the global organization and its related entities of human trafficking and wage law violations.

On behalf of more than 200 Indian construction workers, the lawsuit alleges "shocking violations of the most basic laws applicable to workers in this country, including laws prohibiting forced labor." It was filed in Newark's U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

BAPS purportedly trafficked more than 200 low-caste men from India to New Jersey, disguising them as religious volunteers in government documents, reported the New York Post. 

Upon their arrival in the U.S., the workers said their passports were seized and they were kept under constant watch, even threatened with pay cuts, arrest, and deportation to India if they reported the alleged work slavery to authorities. 

The temple workers were reportedly forced to work from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day, a total of more than 87 hours a week, for $450 a month with an hourly rate of $1.20. However, they only received $50 in cash per month as the rest of their pay was deposited into their accounts in India.

Reuters noted that the minimum wage in New Jersey is $12 per hour. The U.S. law requires an increasing pay rate for most hourly workers if they are told to work for more than 40 hours a week by their employer. 

In India, the lured laborers at the center of the legal battle belonged to the Scheduled Caste or what was formerly considered as the "untouchables" and the socially ostracized. 

On Tuesday, FBI agents inspected the ornate temple in rural Robbinsville, just east of Trenton, in New Jersey for a “court-authorized law enforcement activity," according to Doreen Holder, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in Newark.

The laborers' camp had said some workers had been removed from the site on Tuesday.

While a known entity for community service and philanthropy, BAPS has been linked to controversial issues in India for openly supporting and financing the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, built on the site of a mosque razed by Hindu nationalists.

It also has close ties with Indian right-wing prime minister Narendra Modi, according to the Associated Press. 

BAPS entities owned the land where the upgrading works of the temple are currently underway. The Indian workers reportedly served as stone cutters and performed other construction works as far back as 2012.

Last month, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued a stop-work order against Newark-based construction company Cunha Construction, which oversees the BAPS temple construction works in Robbinsville.

Following a probe, the company was found to have covertly paid workers in cash, failing to also provide employees with workers’ compensation insurance.

The lawsuit seeks unpaid wages and unspecified compensatory as well as punitive damages.

human trafficking mexico Illegal immigrants from Central America, who intend to travel to the U.S. border through Mexico, carry signs as they take part in the re-enactment of the Passion of Christ on a railway line in Huehuetoca March 29, 2013. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter. The sign (bottom R) reads, "No more missing migrants. Stop human trafficking!" Reuters