Indian freed after two years in jail, thanks to charity

DUBAI - It was the beginning of a new chapter in life for Gopal Ram as he left for his hometown in India on Thursday night.

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sun 18 Jul 2010, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:49 PM

The 42-year-old man from Rajasthan had not seen his family for four years after his arrival in the UAE. Also, he had spent 16 months in prison without being able to pay up Dh27,700 in fine for an offence he had committed soon after he landed here.

Thanks to the initiative of a community body, Ram is now a free bird and could fly back to India. He was the first to be freed using a fund raised by the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC).

Under the patronage of the Indian Consulate in Dubai, ICWC had launched a fund-raising campaign in June to release Indians languishing in UAE jails due to their inability to pay fines and blood money in non-criminal cases. ICWC convenor K. Kumar said Ram’s case caught the attention of consulate officials and ICWC members during one of their regular jail visits.

The mason had a case booked against him on the same day he landed here in 2006. A twist of fate had made it a “crash-landing” as the villager slammed into a glass door at the airport, breaking it.

An injured and wrought-up Ram was rushed to Rashid Hospital where he damaged some medical equipment as well. The literally forceful entry at the airport had fetched a one-month prison term and a fine of Dh2,000 for Ram when he was discharged. He served the prison term and then joined the company, which had recruited him and paid the fine against him. However, it was only when he went to the airport for boarding a flight back home after two years that he realised there was another case pending against him.

Thus, Ram ended up in jail again for not paying up the fine for damaging the medical equipment at the hospital. A few friends managed to raise Dh4,000 for him. The balance, Dh23,700, has now been paid by ICWC, following which the father of three was released.

“You have given me a new life. I will never forget this,” Ram told Kumar and Consul-General of India in Dubai Sanjay Verma while thanking them before he left.

Verma appreciated the efforts of ICWC and the contribution of the Indian community. Kumar said the committee was now looking at other deserving Indians languishing in jails.

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