Thiruvananthapuram - They will not be sent back home, and will be allowed to work in the country.
The Sharjah Ruler has announced amnesty for 149 Indian convicts languishing in jails over non-serious offences. The convicts, whose debts amount to Dh20 million, have completed three years of their jail terms.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, announced the amnesty in response to a request made by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to release Indians jailed over financial cases, misdemeanours and minor offences so that they could go home. However, Dr Sheikh Sultan went one step further and said the released Indians can continue to work in Sharjah.
Vijayan took to Facebook to express his appreciation for the move. "It is a very kind gesture and the people of Kerala appreciate it wholeheartedly," he said.
The Sharjah Ruler made the announcement after accepting an honorary doctorate in Cultural Relations and Education conferred on him by the University of Calicut at a function held at the official residence of Kerala Governor Justice (Rtd) P. Sathasivam.
In his speech, Dr Sheikh Sultan said the historical cooperation between Sharjah and Kerala is centuries long. He expressed his appreciation for Sharjah's cooperation with Kerala, while encouraging its continuity, especially in the industry and services sectors.
"I am delighted to be attending this exceptional ceremony, in the presence of many honourable guests and prominent members of Government of Kerala and the University of Calicut. I am honoured to receive this honorary PhD from the university, and would like to thank the nomination committees and the university's administration," he said.
"We know about the influence of Calicut University in Kerala's community, and I believe, like you do, in the importance of providing good education to our youth, as it is the best long-term investment. The innovative ideas of the graduates of our universities are the foundation of achieving the economic, social and development goals of our communities."
During his speech, Vijayan praised Dr Sheikh Sultan's efforts to strengthen relations between Sharjah and Kerala, while highlighting his academic and cultural achievements. He affirmed the importance of granting the honorary PhD "to a truly deserving person".
On Monday, the Vijayan cabinet had presented a roadmap for Kerala-Sharjah cooperation to Dr Sheikh Sultan. A few proposals he submitted included a housing city in Sharjah for Keralites and a cultural centre.
Today, Dr Sheikh Sultan will be in Kochi to attend a private function being organised by businessman M.A. Yusuffali. On Thursday, the Sharjah Ruler will leave for Jaipur.