Dubai: Warehouse fire victims appeal for free legal aid in Kerala

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on February 24, 2021 | Last updated on February 24, 2021 at 01.22 am

(KT file)

Petitioners said they lost thousands of dirhams worth of belongings.

A group of Indian expatriates — who lost their life’s possessions in the fire that engulfed a warehouse in Dubai — has filed a plea with Kerala’s High Court, seeking legal aid to recover their dues. The petitioners, many of whom had lost their jobs in the UAE due to the pandemic, said they had entrusted the cargo company with possessions they wished to ship to India.

Due to the warehouse fire, which happened in Umm Rammool on July 6 last year, the petitioners said they lost thousands of dirhams worth of belongings, most of which had not been compensated. Many of them told Khaleej Times they had returned to India on board repatriation flights.

The petition was filed through Advocate Jose Abraham of the Kerala High Court who said: “The group is not in a position to pursue a legal case against the company in the UAE, that is why they have approached the High Court in Kerala. Also, most of the victims are from Kerala.”

In response to a writ petition, a bench of the court — presided over by Justice PV Asha — issued a notice, asking relevant authorities to consider the grievances of the petitioners and provide free aid so they can initiate legal action for compensation. The High Court of Kerala issued a notice in a writ petition, seeking direction to the Indian ambassador in UAE to consider the grievances of the petitioners.

According to the plea filed by the victims, a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen, none of petitioners’ shipments were insured. The group had also sent representations of Kerala state NRI welfare group NORKA, who in turn forwarded it to the Indian Ambassador on October 1, 2020. The plea highlights that no action was taken on the representations.

Country head of the UAE Pravasi Legal Cell Sreedharan Prasad, who is assisting the group with the cause, said: “This issue will be brought to the notice of Indian Embassy officials for appropriate action to provide necessary legal aid for the victims. After media reports surfaced, several more victims have come forward for assistance...The group is requesting that Indian mission in the UAE support the group to fight their cause because they are in no position to pay the legal charges to fight the case against the cargo company here.”

Padmakumar MS, one of the victims, told Khaleej Times: “We are a group of about approximately 100 people of mostly Keralites..All the items I handed over consisted of household goods and rare collections worth at least Dh75,000. These were acquired out of my lifetime earnings. ”

Another victim A John, who lost his job in March, said his cargo included electronics, appliances, furniture and ornaments worth over Dh155,000.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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