x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'Shame' of Indian inmates in UAE prisons who don't want to go home

Not all Indian prisoners in the UAE who qualify for a transfer home will take the option.

DUBAI // Most Indians in UAE prisons would prefer to serve their sentences at home - but some would rather stay put.

Those jailed for "immoral" crimes, such as trafficking women and forcing them into prostitution, fear the shame of going back.

"People caught for immoral activities will not want to show their faces at home," said BA, who is serving 10 years for murder and hopes to serve his remaining three years in India.

"For people involved in that business, it will be difficult to go back because there is too much shame.

"But I know at least 200 people in for murder and all of us want to go back. I never have money to talk to my family - if I get transferred at least I can see them even if it will upset my children to see me as a prisoner."

KB, 37, has been in jail since 2009 and has 10 years left to serve.

"We have been told that if we are eligible, we can return in the next three months," he said. "The agreement was signed in 2011. I hope it doesn't get delayed any more."

Rashmi, the wife of an Indian carpenter convicted for causing a road accident while drunk, said the family had been praying for his transfer since he was jailed a year ago.

"All we can think of is that he will be in our country," she said. "First the family thought that it was better he was in Dubai because the neighbours would talk.

"But what more can people say? I don't care what people think any more. He committed a crime and is paying for it."

Associations in the Northern Emirates said they were waiting for the forms to reach them and would begin distribution soon after.

"Inmates began calling us as soon as they heard the news," said B Gopakumar, the joint secretary of the Ras Al Khaimah Indian Association, which assists about 40 Indian inmates in RAK Central Prison.

"They all want to know when they will go back. Of the 40, only some will get the transfer benefit, but most will apply for it."

Space constraints in Indian prisons may further delay the exchange.

"Prisons in India are full and any jail these men choose must have space to take them," said K Kumar, the head of the Indian Community Welfare Committee who helped to distribute more than 200 forms at Dubai Central Prison this week.

"We will also include a second choice in the forms so there is an option if the jail they choose close to their home is full. Otherwise the paperwork will go back and forth."

rtalwar@thenational.ae

pkannan@thenational.ae