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Sixty-plus Indian couple appeals for help: Trapped in Dubai

Organized by: elizabeth anderson

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THE STORY:

Sixty-plus Indian couple appeals for help Former army havaldar and crippled wife caught in debt trap THIS COUPLE IS TRAPPED IN DUBAI AND CANNOT LEAVE. THEY ARE MY DEAR FRIENDS. PLEASE HELP CONTRIBUTE TO BEING ABLE TO PAY THEIR WAY OUT OF DUBAI AND RETURN HOME SAFELY TO INDIA. THE WIFE IS A CRIPPLE AND REQUIRES URGENT MEDICAL TREATEMENT. THANK YOU. Dubai: A 67-year-old expatriate who is an ex-serviceman of the Indian Army and his crippled 66-year-old wife are caught in a loan trap and illegal visa status and are appealing for help to go back home. Two months ago, their passports expired and despite all promises of help from the Indian Consulate, they continue to live in fear of eviction and incarceration. Hari Prasad (not his real name), a former havaldar in the Indian Army and his crippled wife Lakshmi (not her real name), who has earned much recognition for excellence in the teaching field in India, came to the UAE from Hyderabad in 2000. They had a 14-year old son, Anurag, who died in 1992 saving the lives of two drowning women. “My son received the highest civilian bravery award posthumously and the [Indian] government promised us land. We were shown the land and told to get the registration done to build a school in his memory. We spent all our savings running from pillar to post to get what was rightfully ours. But the corrupt officials did not relent. Governments changed and in the end, the doctors told me that my wife would not survive the trauma [of her son’s death] and needed a change of place.” So in 2000, at the age of 51, Prasad moved to Sharjah as an insurance agent. He worked hard to be able to meet his targets and was allowed to bring his wife to Sharjah within a year. In the decade since, he worked in three different jobs and in 2010, his luck ran out and he lost his job. He was over 60 years. “I had bought a second-hand Nissan Qashqai as a salesman on my company’s insistence. I had paid Dh10,000 as down payment and also paid eight loan instalments before I lost my job. I couldn’t leave as the loan interest compounded.” Prasad has to pay back Dh65,000 on the car loan. “The car is in immaculate condition but I cannot sell it as its registration has expired and the bank has filed a loan default case. I have written several letters to the Indian Consulate. They say I need to pay off the loan before they can help me with the immigration issue.” On the advice of friends, after he lost his job, Prasad got an investor visa in 2011 at a very exorbitant price to work in the field of laying floor tiles. But the business ran dry. “I am left with not a penny. We live on charity. The landlord of the apartment we live in has been kind enough to give us a grace period for two quarters but I fear we will be on the streets soon. We have received a final bill payment notice from Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) and our power supply can be disconnected any minute. My wife is unwell, crippled with all this devastation,” said Prasad. The couple need approximately Dh150,000 to be able to clear the vehicle loan, expired visa fees and claim their lives back. A distraught Lakshmi said: “We lost everything when we lost our son. The Government of India owes my husband a pension as he served in the Army and also in a civilian post in the Air Force for 26 years [collectively]. My husband has written many letters to [India’s] Ministry of External Affairs but to no avail.” “All I want is to return to India and restart our lives. I feel trapped due to my illegal status and for the last three years. I have been seeking a deliverance from this situation. I wish someone would help us,” said Prasad.

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