Dubai: Missing since Feb 2020, 'heartbroken' Indian youth flies home

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Naresh Kumar with social worker Girish Pant at the Dubai International Airport.
Naresh Kumar with social worker Girish Pant at the Dubai International Airport.

Dubai - He received psychiatric treatment in Dubai, after help from the Dubai Police, Consulate General of India and a social worker


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Naresh Kumar.
Naresh Kumar.
Naresh before the tragedy struck.
Naresh before the tragedy struck.

Published: Wed 27 Jan 2021, 3:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 May 2023, 12:53 PM

An Indian youth, who was reported missing since February last year, has finally flown home to his family in India on Wednesday, January 27.

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Naresh Kumar, 26, who suffers from bipolar disorder, had been out of touch with his family since before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UAE in March 2020. The Himachal Pradesh native was working as a waiter in a cafeteria in Dubai’s Karama since 2018, before his life went into a downward spiral.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Dubai Police, the Consulate General of India, and social worker Girish Pant, Naresh was finally found in a desolate state on January 2 this year after some Good Samaritans posted videos on social media.

Social workers and diplomatic officers said he reached this unfortunate state of mind after his girlfriend broke up with him last year.

“He couldn’t handle the heartbreak and has been out of touch with his family for nearly nine months. According to his family, he was ready to marry this girl and had brought her to Dubai on a visit visa, hoping to start a life with her,” said social worker and Pravasi Bharatiya Award winner Girish Pant.

How was Naresh found?

Since his parents could not reach him, they began posting appeal videos on social media channels. “On December 29, one of his former colleagues found Naresh near his old workplace and shared a video on social media. He was seen speaking incoherently in the video,” said Pant.

The video went viral in several social media community groups and a Good Samaritan, who saw the video, reached out to Pant by tagging him on Twitter.

Pant explained: “I got involved in this case after someone from Bahrain reached out to me when they saw the video and was able to recognise Naresh. He had undergone a dramatic change in appearance. He had lost a lot of weight and was not making any sense while speaking.”

The family tracked Pant down and called, requesting his help.

Since Naresh kept coming back to the same spot, Pant was finally able to track him down on January 2. “His parents had said they were not able to speak him since February last year. He was visibly mentally disturbed, and I reached out to the Dubai Police for help. We have no idea where he has been since February last year.”

Dubai Police, GDRFA help

Chairman and managing director of Fortune Group of Hotels Praveen Shetty offered support by providing him with temporary accommodation from January 2 to 4.

“Naresh had some violent tendencies. He had even tried to run away from the hospital when we tried to admit him on January 3. We found him loitering around in the highway near Al Awir later that evening, collecting rubbish from the streets,” said Pant.

The Dubai Police facilitated Naresh’s admission to Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital in Al Awir, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was admitted to the hospital on January 4.

According to his medical report, a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen, Naresh responded well to treatment at the hospital and was given a ‘fit to fly’ certificate on January 21.

Consulate provides financial assistance

Jitendra Negi, Labour Consul at the Indian Consulate, told Khaleej Times the mission assisted Naresh and an accompanying passenger with flight tickets.

Negi said: “There was an absconding case slapped on him by his former employee. The Consulate, with the help of Girish Pant, has cleared those fines.”

Naresh’s passport was deposited at the immigration department.

“His labour contract was cancelled, we lifted the absconding complaint, paid the immigration outstanding fines, got immigration clearance, and got an outpass for Naresh to travel to India,” explained Pant. What has happened to Naresh is very tragic. He had a bright future ahead of him. More needs to be done to raise mental health awareness.”

Khaleej Times has reached out to Naresh’s family.

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