Pakistani Shelters Paralysed, Partially Blind Indian In Dubai For Nearly Two Years
Thomichan (L) and Mohammed Azad (R)

Pakistani Shelters Paralysed, Partially Blind Indian In Dubai For Nearly Two Years

If it were not for him, I would have died long back on the streets of Dubai, says the stranded Indian

“If Mohammed Azad from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) was not there, I would have died long back on one of the streets of Dubai. I can’t even eat food, change my dress, or go to the washroom alone. Daily, I lie in this bed till he comes after his night duty. But he never fails to come back on time. This is his small room where he has accommodated me too. It is a bed space. He knows that I am alone here.”

These were the grateful words of Thomichan PT, a 63-year-old from Kerala, who believes that if Azad was not there to help and take care of him for the last year and a half, he would never have survived till now with a paralyzed body and partially blind eye.

Thomichan is undocumented and jobless in Dubai since 2017. He does not even know who has his passport, due to memory loss and troubles he faced.

"Between 2017 and 2019, I was in police stations, courts, hospitals, and jails. And during that time, I lost everything, including my business, shelter, and identity cards. My flat was vacated by the owner. That time, they had thrown out my documents and belongings. I had lost many files, including my papers. I couldn't trace them back. It was then this Azad, who came forward to help me at least in sheltering me with him," Thomichan said.

Thomichan had come to Dubai in 2013 after spending 30 years in Saudi Arabia. Until 2017 life was okay for Thomichan. But after that, two cheque bounce cases trapped him in Dubai and he was jailed twice for the same crime.

But as he is penniless to arrange the alleged amount, he does not know how and when he can return.

But he knows that Azad will help him till the day of his return.

Qatar Blockade And Thomichan

Thomichan’s crisis started when the Saudi Arabia-led coalition imposed an economic blockade on Qatar.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha, and imposed a sea, land, and air blockade on Qatar, claiming it supported “terrorism” and was too close to Iran.

Thomichan was running an electronics trading business in the Dubai Internet City. And his trade was mainly dependent on the shipment of electronic items between UAE and Qatar, which got hit by the blockade.

“I didn’t expect that my business would be hit. But slowly, it went down. I couldn’t recoup. I couldn’t pay my supplier. And as a guarantee, I had to give them two cheques. It was around Rs 10 lakh then. But when they calculated with interest, it is being said that that is Rs 40 lakh. I was jailed for that and then let go. Now, I have lost the track of the case too,” Thomichan said.

Thomichan was staying in shared accommodation in the beginning of 2019. But he was jobless and shuttling between courts and hospitals. He was struggling for food too. As he could not pay rent, he was denied entry one night to the shared accommodation.

“I was physically unwell. I had suffered two heart attacks by then. One was when I was under police custody. That night, when I was denied entry to the shared accommodation, I was clueless. It was then that Azad came to help,” Thomichan added.

Thomichan and Azad moved to a small flat near Karama, a residential district close to Dubai Creek. Thomichan knew the Nepali manager of the flat. So he gave shelter to Thomichan at a reduced rent.

“The normal rent is around Rs 20,000. Azad pays my rent too as he knows that I don’t have a single penny,” Thomichan added.

“Will Help For As Long As I Can”

Meanwhile, talking to The Lede, Azad said, “I will take care of him till I can.”

“When Thomichan was doing well, he had been helpful to my brother who had business with Thomichan. I know only that. But when I saw him stranded, I couldn’t leave him and walk away. So I joined him. I have a decent job and I am confident that I can take care of him,” Azad said.

Azad is a crane operator who earns around Rs 1,00,000 as monthly salary.

“Often I have night duty. But I adjust everything and make sure that Thomi Bhai is comfortable. I order food, buy his medicines, and keep everything near him. Nobody else is there in this room. And before I go for duty, I take him to the washroom too,” Azad added.

When asked why he is doing this, Azad said “I am from a small village in Azad Kashmir (PoK). Ours is a God-fearing family. I was taught that we should be helpful towards the stranded and elderly people. That’s what I am doing now. I don’t care if he is an Indian or not. I can afford to help him with my earnings. I don’t need anything in return. I see this as my duty.”

When asked how long he will continue this, Azad said, “Till, I am here. I am not going to lose my job. I don’t have any big commitments. I will help till I can.”

Both Thomichan and Azad spoke to The Lede over phone, which was put on speaker.

When Azad said that he would help Thomichan as long as he could, Thomichan interrupted and added that during his 40 years of migration in the Arab Gulf, he has not seen a person like Azad.

“He is young. He is just 35. Without him, I can’t even change my dhoti,” Thomichan added.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, a few social workers had tried with the embassy to repatriate Thomichan. But nothing worked.

“I want to go home. My wife is alone there. We have lost all our savings. I couldn’t attend my younger daughter’s marriage due to my financial constraints. I could only marry off my elder daughter in a good way. And both of them are also not in a position to help me. I am just whiling away my days here. I don’t know whether I will be able to go back or not,” Thomichan added.

This time, Azad, interrupted. “Khuda ek rasthe dikhayenge Thomas Bhai.” (God will show a way, Thomas brother.)

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