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Mohammad Fahad, Administrative- Department of Seasonal Programme of Dar Al Ber Society (left), hands over a cheque of Dhs 200,000 to Shaney Haider (centre) and B. Bharathiraja. The money was collected through donations to help pay the diya (blood money) the two men owe to the family of Utpal Mallik, who accidentally fell to his death while constructing a villa back in 2017. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Two Indian expats, who had been stuck here for four years following a blood money case involving the accidental death of a worker, have been released from the case after a UAE charity raised the amount for them.

Dar Al Ber Society had last month launched a donation campaign seeking aid for the duo after a Gulf News report that highlighted the plight of Shaney Haider, 45, a safety officer and B. Bharathiraja, 33, a civil engineer who had been mired in the case since the worksite accident in January 2017.

In the report published in December, Haider from Uttar Pradesh and Bharathiraja, from Tamil Nadu had appealed for mercy or help to pay Dh200,000 in diya (blood money) to the family of Utpal Mallick from West Bengal, who was 42 when he accidentally fell to his death while working at a villa under construction.

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Shaney Haider, 45, a safety officer and B. Bharathiraja, 33, a civil engineer, were mired in the blood money case since the worksite accident in January 2017. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Despite getting a pardon from the family of the deceased following an out-of-court settlement, the duo had said that they could not get the pardon legally validated as Mallick’s daughter was still a minor. The company for which they worked was already in trouble when the unfortunate incident took place and had eventually shut down, giving them no scope for settling the huge amount though they were out on bail.

Relieving anguish, reuniting families

Following the report, Dar Al Ber Society came forward to seek donations from philanthropists to help the men return home after settling the blood money. The society said it aimed to relieve their anguish and reunite them with their families after four years of separation.

The donation drive was held during Ramadan and several people of the UAE contributed to the cause, following which Dar Al Ber was able to issue a cheque for Dh200,000 to deposit in a Dubai court.

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In a statement to Gulf News, Youssef Al-Yateem, head of the Projects Sector at Dar Al Ber Society, said: “The Society has made great efforts since it received the file of the two cases, as it began to study it and first made sure of the convicted persons’ entitlement to assistance and support. Then it worked to collect donations and material aid for their benefit, which culminated in success … in preparation for paying it on their behalf and handing it over to the competent authorities, and then to the victim’s family [members], who have been decided by the competent court of blood money.”

Dr Hisham Al-Zahrani, director of the Zakat Department at the Society, affirmed the Society’s keenness to perform its humanitarian duties, charitable roles and community commitments, with all the poor, needy and afflicted, of all nationalities. He added: “[This is] to consolidate the values of our true religion, and an implementation of the country’s humanitarian policy and [in line with the] the directives of our wise leadership and the inherited value system [of] the people of the Emirates.”

Emotional moments

Speaking to Gulf News, the duo said they were overwhelmed with emotions when the Society deposited the Dh200,000 cheque at a Dubai court earlier this month.

Following this, the court released their passports, clearing their names from the case. “When I put up the photo of my passport on my WhatsApp status soon after getting it in my hands, my daughter immediately saw it. She jumped with joy and informed this to others at home,” said Haider, who has three young children, aged and ailing parents and two siblings who are people of determination. “They rang me up immediately. All of us were in tears. I can’t express the feelings [we had] in words,” he said.

Bharathiraja said he also burst into tears when he rang up his friends here who had been helping him. “I couldn’t talk to them properly as I kept crying holding my passport in my hand. When I called home, my parents, brother and sister-in-law were also in tears. It was the first time I spoke to my brother after I got stuck in this case though I was not present at the accident site when the mishap took place,” he said.

Words of thanks, promise

The relieved duo thanked everyone who supported them to get a new lease of life. They expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Dar Bel Society, its officials, the generous donors, Gulf News and the Indian Consulate officials. They also conveyed their special thanks to social worker Juhi Yasmeen Khan, the founder of Future Philanthropist, who guided them to relevant authorities to get financial aid.

Touched by the Ramadan donation drive that saved their lives, they also promised to donate a portion of their future income to Dar Al Ber Society. “It was only because kindhearted people made their donations to Dar Al Ber that we were rescued. We will never forget this. I have pledged to donate a portion of my future income to Dar Al Ber,” said Haider.

Bharathiraja said he would begin by donating Dh1,000 from his first salary whenever he gets a job. “I don’t know when I will get a job or what will be the salary. But, I will definitely donate Dh1,000 from my first salary to Dar Al Ber and will continue to share whatever is possible later.”

They said they would also encourage their friends and others to do it so that people like them, who genuinely deserve financial aid, can be helped.

The duo would be flying home after completing the pending legal procedures such as cancellation of their visas and would return to the UAE after a couple of months to look for new jobs. “This country had supported my family since 2004. I always wished to continue working here after clearing our names in this case,” said Haider.

Bharathiraja said: “Though we were once in great pain, we overcame this difficult situation only because of the people here. We had no salary for years. We will be able to take care of our families only if we get jobs here again.”