He had just retired from Sharjah Police where he worked for 30 years
Sharjah: An Indian expat’s journey back home for good after 43 years in the UAE has ended in tragedy after he died in a car crash just a few kilometres away from his home.
Rajan Pillai, 62, flew home on Saturday night after recently retiring from Sharjah Police, where he had worked for 30 years, his shocked neighbours and colleagues said.
His son and brother, who had gone to pick him up from the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in the south Indian state of Kerala, were also injured in the accident early on Sunday morning, they said.
“His son Amal was in a critical condition till this morning. His brother sustained minor injuries but is in severe shock and despair,” V. P. Sreekumar, a Sharjah resident who had studied with another younger brother of Rajan, told Gulf News on Monday.
He said he was told that the brother was driving the car which collided with a bus.
According to him, Rajan had come over to the UAE 43 years ago.
“Two of his elder brothers had earlier returned home for good from the UAE. They had retired from Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority.”
E.P. Johnson, president of Sharjah Indian Association, who also hails from Sooranad in Kollam district, the hometown of Rajan, said the accident had taken place when Rajan was just 10minutes away from reaching home.
“It is a very tragic news. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.”
He said a child had died on the same spot last year. “The child had fallen off a scooter driven by the mother and was run over by a lorry.”
Colleagues of Rajan, who was an employee with the Electronic and Service Department of Sharjah Police, said they were also shocked to hear the news.
“We are very sad that this happened to him. He was one of the oldest employees here. Nobody expected this twist in fate for him,” said one of them.
UAE amnesty: Indian expat returns home after death of two sons
He was one of the few people to avail of the amnesty on December 31.
When 50-year-old Indian national Soorya Mallaya came to the UAE 12 years ago on a visit visa, his intention was to provide a better life for his wife and four children. Unable to legalise his status, Mallayya decided to stay back to provide for his family.
“I began doing small jobs in construction sites and earning some money out of it. So, I decided to stay back and send money home,” he said. During the course of his stay, Mallayya, an Andhra Pradesh native, lost two of his older sons to kidney-related diseases.
“My older son passed away 10-years-ago, I could not go for his funeral. My younger one passed away four months ago. Both died back home in Andhra. I could not afford the fines, so I was too scared to leave. The amnesty was the only way I could get back to my family,” he said.
Today, Mallaya returns to his family, thanks to the UAE amnesty and the help from the Consulate-General of India in Dubai. He was one of the few people to avail of the amnesty on December 31, the last day before the four-month long programme ended.
Mallaya was one among several thousands who made it back home to their home countries. The programme that began on August 1, 2018, was extended twice.
Jitender Singh Negi, labour attache with the Consulate-General of India, said: “Requests from undocumented people came from the UAE up until the very last minute. People were issued travel documents till December 31. Furthermore, the consulate has issued tickets until January 8 for amnesty cases. People will continue to leave until then.”
‘Amnesty was a success’
Mohammad Imran, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the UAE, said: “With regard to Bangladeshi nationals, all procedures have been completed. There were some passports kept pending in November, however, thanks to the second extension, it has helped our people immensely.”
He added: “We have addressed concerns of most people who came for passports, and have kept the missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai open for services. Most people have utilised it.” The ambassador said that a little over 20,000 Bangladeshi nationals availed of the amnesty and approximately 5,000 have left the country. About 15,000 stayed back under the six-month job visa.
“We definitely want to thank the UAE government for the service provided to those who overstayed. Many have got the six-month visas and many have converted that to the regular visa. However, a word of caution to those who have availed of the six-month visa – they have to find a sponsor to legalise their status. Time goes very quickly, and I advise that they not stay back if they are not lucky with jobs.”
Roop Sidhu, secretary, Indian Association Ajman, said: “The extension for the overstaying residents was most useful, especially for families. Some of them who could not make it in the beginning due to financial reasons did it in the very last minute… Some people were expecting salaries. For all of them, the extension was very helpful.”
He added: “A total of 245 Indian passports were handed over by the immigration. The association had set up a hotline service and on a daily basis, we went to immigration camps to check on people, to provide them help.”
‘Do not break the law’
Anwar Naha, president of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), said: “Even before the amnesty was launched, we began working with the programme. A total of 770 cases were helped by us and 470 cases were referred to the Indian consulate. About 150 air tickets were provided by us with the help of corporations, and we actively took part in marketing campaigns organised by the Dubai Immigration.”
“Now it is up to the people who have availed of the service to work within the legal gambit and leave if they do not find jobs,” concluded Naha.
Indian social worker Girish Pant said the same. He said: “Approximately 10-15 families approached me for help. All were given the help to either return or change their status. However, people must not stay back after their six-month visa period has been completed. They must live within the legal framework.”