Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 November 2019

Indian expat in Oman becomes latest to commit suicide due to debts

Last year, 23 Indian expatriates committed suicide in Oman, according to a police source.
The body of the 33-year-old was found in his room in Muscat on March 5, 2017. Kamran Jebreili, File / AP Photo
The body of the 33-year-old was found in his room in Muscat on March 5, 2017. Kamran Jebreili, File / AP Photo

MUSCAT // The body of an Indian construction worker was found in his room in Muscat on Sunday after he was apparently driven to suicide by financial worries.

The worker was the latest Indian expatriate to kill themselves due to the pressures of debt as the cost of living rises in both Oman and India.

The 33-year-old man had complained of a headache and was last seen on Saturday evening, sitting alone in a courtyard of the construction site in the Omani capital, his fellow workers said.

“We all start work by seven but when he did not show up by 8.30 this morning, we checked on him and saw his body hanging from the ceiling,” said Ranjeet Singh, a fellow construction worker. “We called the police right away.”

The man “was not himself and acted strangely” in recent months because he was under mounting debt from loans he had taken in his home state of Punjab, in part to pay for his daughter’s marriage in September, Mr Singh said.

Police confirmed the man’s death was a suicide but gave no further details.

A police source said it was the second suicide this year by an Indian expatriate in Oman.

Last year, 23 Indian expatriates committed suicide in Oman, according to the source.

“We had teachers, students, office managers, salesmen and manual workers taking their lives in the Indian community. The common link is financial pressures they go through that gets out of control,” the police officer said.

Ravindranath Nair, an Indian psychologist in Muscat, said an increase in the cost of living both in Oman and India had put extraordinary pressure on expatriates.

“It is the mental stress the Indian community working in Oman face, mainly about their financial status. Salaries have not gone up in the last five years in the country. They have expenditure commitments such as accommodation rents, education of their children and they have to send money back as well for their savings. It leads to depression and eventually to the taking of their lives,” Mr Nair told The National.

The drop in global oil prices since 2014 has forced most local employers to freeze increments and bonuses and to recruit new staff at reduced salaries, which has particularly affected Indian expats in lower-paying jobs.

Indians make up nearly half of Oman’s expatriate workforce.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Updated: March 5, 2017 04:00 AM

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