x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Death of family linked to finances

Family found dead in Dubai Creek, with father being blamed for committing suicide because of financial troubles.

Dubai // The bodies of an Indian couple and their young daughter have been pulled from Dubai Creek, amid reports yesterday that the father had tried to kill himself earlier in a gas explosion. Police yesterday confirmed that Girish Kumar, 29, wife Shabija and their 20-month-old daughter were pulled from the water on Wednesday and that they were treating the father's death as suicide and investigating the other two. A spokesman said the family was under a heavy financial burden that had reached a critical point. Mr Kumar earned less than Dh2,000 (US$545) a month as a foreman. A friend of the couple said he had been told that the parents were tied together with their child between them when they were pulled from the water. However, police dismissed the claim. Relatives said Mr Kumar had attempted suicide at the family home in Bur Dubai before they went to the creek. "He shared the room with a Philippine family who told us that there was a gas cylinder burst early in the morning," said a relative. Neighbours told the family they saw Mr Kumar rushing out of their flat with his wife and daughter at 5am on Tuesday. "The roommates thought that he was taking them to the hospital because the wife was burnt by the blast," said the relative. Sindhu, the sister of Mr Kumar, who lives in Sharjah, said, "There is nothing left to say or do now. We have lost everything." A colleague of Mr Kumar said he was in severe financial difficulty. "Loans, credit cards and other liabilities were weighing heavily on his head," he said. "We never thought it would lead him to take such a drastic measure." Mr Kumar's brother, Manikandan, reported the disappearance of the family on Tuesday. They found the car near the creek but there were no signs of the couple. "By 4pm on Wednesday, the police called us informing us about the bodies that were found from the creek," said the relative. Another colleague of Mr Kumar described him as a "smart, helpful and cheerful" person. "He has been working here for the last eight years. He was a great boy and we never expected this to happen to him," added a colleague. "Banks always try to sell credit cards to people like us who earn just a few thousands. This is a big trap and I think Girish was a victim of this." India's consul general, Venu Rajamony, said the tragedy served to highlight the difficulties Indians can face in the UAE. He called on community groups, neighbours and employers to do more to help people with financial and emotional problems. "People in India must investigate about the realities of working abroad before they commit to any job opportunity. If they sell everything in India to come here and realise that things are not how they imagined, then they would be very disappointed." pmenon@thenational.ae