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Monday, November 21, 2016

KT impact: Help pours in for Indian forced to live on terrace!

  • Readers offered to buy air tickets for Sajeev Rajan, give him a job, or just monetary help.
A day after Khaleej Times highlighted the plight of an Indian electrician - who was forced to live on the terrace of a building in Ajman for the past eight months - KT readers have responded overwhelmingly with offers of help.

Readers offered to buy air tickets for Sajeev Rajan, give him a job, or just monetary help. Rajan, who worked for a Sharjah-based construction company, has spent 237 days on the terrace of a residential building in an industrial area in Ajman because his employer has not returned his passport after settling his dues. The one-eyed man in his early 40s has been desperately trying to return home to Kollam, Kerala, where his wife, two children and ageing parents await him.

He had been surviving off the generosity of some construction workers and shop owners in the neighbourhood.

Read: Jobless Indian lives on terrace for eight months

While officials from the Indian consulate remained tight-lipped about the issue, Rajan's employer told KT on Monday that he was "trying his best" to repatriate the worker. "There is no other option but to wait for the labour court hearing and I don't know when that is due," S. Singh, the employer, said.Rajan, meanwhile, thanked KT readers for their help and support.

"I am happy that after a long time today I will get money for food. For several months, I had been eating from a restaurant without paying them.

"For eight months, I knocked on several doors for help. I have been to the Indian consulate many times and I hope I will be able to go home soon," he said.

"I got a call from the consulate asking about my situation. Last time at the consulate, my employer had agreed to settle everything within four days. But nothing happened."

The Indian consulate had earlier told KT that the employer had promised to settle the issue by the first week of October. "He (Sajeev) came to the consulate in September and we called the employer. He agreed to settle the issue, return the passport and send him to India by October 2. However, after that nobody contacted us and we did not know that the issue was still pending."

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


What people offered

A regular KT reader offered to help Sajeev with an air ticket and any other support. Another reader, Adam, offered Sajeev a job.

Another reader, Naval Vohra, said: "I have spoken to him already and though he does not understand English, I have arranged some money for his immediate needs."

Rupak Rana, another reader, said he was deeply moved by Sajeev's plight.

On KT's social media platforms, too, readers offered to help. "It is a heartbreaking story ... Living on a terrace when the temperature touched 50°C. There are many rich Keralites here, why are they not helping such people?" asked Bilal Ahmed on KT's Facebook page. Other users suggested that India's external affairs minister Sushama Swaraj, who is known for rescuing distressed Indians, could help.

Marie Ferns, a reader, wanted the Indian consulate to pressurise the Indian employer to return his passport and pay for the eight months he spent on the terrace.

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