Kind-hearted city cop changes maid’s world

DUBAI - Life would never have been same again for a 47-year-old Sri Lankan housemaid treated for mental disorder at Rashid Hospital, without the assistance of a compassionate and diligent police officer stationed at the Dubai International Airport.

By Meraj Rizvi

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Published: Wed 8 Sep 2004, 10:05 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:45 PM

B.M. Palingu Menike, the housemaid, returned home to Colombo late last night, after receiving timely medical assistance on the initiative of the warm-hearted, Major Mohammed Al Awadhi, the police officer in-charge of the Dubai Concourse, who spotted her in a dazed state at the airport premises, a week ago.

“I noticed this lady arrives daily at the airport clutching to her belongings tightly and then disappears after spending a couple of hours. She continued to do this for three to four days and looked very lost. Realising that something was wrong, I approached the lady but she started to scream and shout and was unable to reply to any queries,” said Major Mohammed.

“She looked mentally ill and could not even recall her name, or provide us any personal details. I knew that if, I had left her on her own she would have surely met with a road accident of some kind or strayed away,” Major Mohammed said, explaining his decision to admit her to a local Dubai hospital for medical assistance.

“It was purely on human grounds and out of concern for a fellow human being,” he said, adding that extending assistance to members of all nationalities is what is instilled into us as part of our duty by the Dubai Rulers.

“We deal with people arriving daily from over 144 countries in Dubai and there is no discrimination made whatsoever among people of any nationality who need police assistance of any kind,” the officer told Khaleej Times.

He said it was initially a bit difficult to convince the lady to go to the hospital, but against heavy resistance from her, I was forced to take her to Rashid Hospital so that she could receive medical attention immediately.

The doctors and the medical team of Rashid Hospital have been very cooperative with her and succeeded in normalising her mental condition in just over a week, said Major Mohammed who visited her daily at the hospital after his duty hours, purely out of human concern.

He said at first it was difficult to trace her whereabouts and if she had any family in the UAE, so I contacted the Sri Lankan Consulate who immediately rushed to the hospital and cooperated with the police in tracing her whereabouts.

The Consulate helped in restoring contacts with her family in Colombo and recovered her belongings from a home in Ajman. They also helped in issuing her a temporary outpass and completed her visa cancellation procedures.

“Today, I feel very good that Palingu Menike has recovered and is very happy to go home,” told Major Mohammed after paying his last visit to the hospital yesterday. “I found her laughing and joking and happy to return home, which probably was a distant dream that had stressed her out completely and resulted in a mental disorder of sorts.”

Palingu was scheduled to leave straight from the hospital to catch a 10pm flight to Colombo by Qatar Airways. Her baggage was sent through a freight forwarding company free of cost, while the ticket is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment.

Sri Lankan Consul-General P.D. Fernando hailed the kind-hearted police officer for having gone beyond his official duty to extend all assistance and cooperation in helping the Sri Lankan housemaid. He also praised the medical assistance and cooperation of doctors and medical staff extended to the maid. “It is one of the best, I have ever come across,” Mr Fernando said in praise of Rashid Hospital.

He wished there were more police officials like Major Mohammed who apart from having a tough exterior are basically very compassionate and understand human sufferings. Palingu's case is another feather to the cap of the diligent police official who works for over 18 hours daily.

‘The police officer was Godsend’

DUBAI - Speaking to this newspaper from her hospital bed, Palingu Menike thanked the Dubai Police official for giving her a new life and realise her dream to return home.

“I arrived in the UAE six years ago and worked as a housemaid for several employers, she said. However, she was unable to recall the name of her sponsor and the reason for lapse in renewing her visa status.

“Lately, I had stopped eating and my recent employer, a Sudanese lady asked me to quit the job since I looked very ill and weak. I left her home after which I cannot recall what happened. The only thing on my mind was how to return to Colombo since I had no passport, ticket or any money, said Palingu, a mother of four children.

“But, the police official was “Godsend” and the Sri Lankan Consulate officials have all been very cooperative and helpful in helping a housemaid to return home without having to pay any fines, or, pleading my case with the local authorities.”

Palingu who expressed her wish to return to the UAE someday, said, right now she wants to spend some time with her family in Colombo. “But, I will always remember the good people I met in Dubai and will try and return to meet them again someday.”

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