Puttur, Aug 11: Sulaiman Abubakker (53), who left home in search of greener pastures, with dreams in his eyes to provide for a comfortable living for his family members, returned home empty-handed on Wednesday August 10,. Sulaiman was jailed in Saudi Arabia for about 42 months for a crime he never committed.
Abubakker left Nelyady in the taluk with the fervent hope of helping his wife, Jameela, three daughters, and two sons, to fulfil their aspirations, on January 26, 2008. Before that, he had worked as lorry driver for nearly 25 years. He sold off a five cents plot with his residence, the only property he ever had, for realizing the dream of reaching the Gulf. Before leaving India, he had accommodated his family members in a rented house.
When Sulaiman parked his truck by the roadside while working as truck driver in Saudi Arabia and left for some work, a car that came from behind, rammed into the truck. Six occupants of the car lost their lives in the accident. Sulaiman, who had no hand in the accident, was jailed. As the court ordered payment of local currency worth about Rs 75 lac, Sulaiman, who had worked only for two months before the accident, had to spend time in the jail, unable to pay the blood money.
Sulaiman, who was not even allowed to contact his family members back home, was helped by India Fraternity Forum (IFF) members. The insurance company which had covering the vehicle Sulaiman was driving, did not agree to pay the amount fixed by the court for his release. IFF activists, Altaf, Rafiq, Latif, Naushad, Moidin, Nazeem, Nissar etc, who work in various parts of Saudi Arabia, succeeded in carrying on a prolonged legal battle against the insurance company, and compelling it to pay up about Saudi Rials 5,17,000 towards Sulaiman’s release. Sulaiman was released from jail on April 23 this year.
Even after being released from jail, Sulaiman found the going tough, as his documents like driving licence, passport, etc, which were impounded during his arrest, had to be claimed. Sulaiman said his friends in Saudi spent about Saudi Rials 4,500 for getting this done.
On his arrival at the airport here on Wednesday, local Popular Front of India activists extended him a rousing welcome, and took him home. Sulaiman said his life at jail in Saudi was hellish because of substandard food and cruel officials. He revealed that the Indian High Commission there had not extended any assistance to him. He gratefully recollected the humanitarian help extended by IFF members. “I am free and alive because of the mercy of Allah,” he exclaimed. The happiness of his wife and children, who at one time had lost hopes of meeting him again, found no bounds on seeing him alive and safe.