Mr. M.K.Lokesh, India’s U A E Ambassador, told recently in a Press conference that more than 1200 persons were prisoners in various jails of U A E on different criminal charges like theft, cheating , financial irregularities etc. It is really a shocking revelation for all Indians. He however, said that he would look in to all cases individually including those cases of suicides.
If the intentional cheating, murder and theft cases are set apart, a number of cases are related to otherwise honest persons falling prey to circumstances. Take the example of cheque frauds or issuing bad cheques. Although it is also a crime in India, the U A E laws and its execution are very strict. The cheque books are a necessary item for the U A E life as it is handy for all payments like school fees , paying rent or for repayment of loans etc and you are provided with them on opening a current account in the bank ( not with a Savings account as in India) The current account is a little costlier too with stipulated minimum balance etc.
When a cheque bounces and a complaint lodged, the Police will come to the scene and the rest depends on the Party’s luck. The police can allow you to settle the matter there and then or you can be jailed for cheque fraud. The jail sentence is almost a goodbye to the country as a jailed person is unlikely to get work again. A number of persons presently in jails are actually honest and law-abiding citizens and they are there simply by the quirk of luck and force of circumstances. It can happen unintentionally too when someone write a cheque without checking Funds or an office accountant does so and the drawing officer is charged. Any way the U A E Police send all cases promptly to jail. Nor the Bank officers show the courtesy to phone back with the drawing person of the cheque and inquire the matter. Such cases have to be individually verified to know the underlying facts. The U A E Ambassador promises to do so and if he does so earnestly a lot many persons can be saved from jail.
Sitting in Kerala without a proper work and spending money the Gulf countries would appear as a promise and since it is tough to get a proper job in India for unskilled persons, the migration to Gulf is continuing. There are over one Million Indian expats in Arab Emirates doing various jobs and benefiting equal number of Indian families.
The work in the Gulf countries is no bed of Roses. Although one may get a better wages for work there, one has to pay dearly for it. I know a young lady whose husband is working in U A E. He comes home once in 18 months with a leave of one month. He has built a new house where the lady with mother and 5 year old kid live. Many a festive occasions come and go and she cannot enjoy them with her husband. The same trauma is there for the man working in Gulf too. He cannot live with his family during his life’s good period missing many a memorable occasions, small and big, with the family. It is the same story for most of the Indian expats in Arabian countries.
One of the biggest traumas of Gulf life is loneliness. As the mind wanders off to one’s family and friends living at a place beyond the reach a splendid isolation creeps in to the mind especially when sitting in a land of different cultural, political and social settings. The onset of Internet has now helped to interact with the family more lively. However the problem of loneliness and trauma of separation persists.
There are cases of not getting promised work and pay also. They have to suffer the woes silently until the contract period is over. There were more than 200 suicides among the Indians in U A E last year and the number speaks eloquently the perils of Gulf life.
The Indian Embassy can help a lot to alleviate the sufferings of Indians in U A E if the Foreign ministry and the Ambassador take a pro-active role in the matter.
Images from Google