The family of A. Naushad, an Indian awaiting punishment in Saudi Arabia for having allegedly caused a Saudi national to lose his eyesight, sees a glimmer of hope in the arrival of Saudi monarch King Abdullah to India for the Republic Day celebrations next week.
Naushad, 34, has been languishing in a Saudi Arabian jail since 2003 after a tiff with a Saudi national during which the latter’s eye was damaged and he later lost his eyesight. According to a new Saudi law, one of Naushad’s eyes could be gouged out for "justice".
King Abdullah is to be the chief guest at the Jan 26 parade. According to Saudi law, it is only the king who can give a ‘royal pardon’ to Naushad. Meanwhile, Naushad’s two children here run to the phone each time it rings thinking their ‘uppa’ (father) has called from Saudi Arabia. They are not aware he is in jail and are wondering why ‘uppa’ hasn’t called in nearly two months.
Asna, just two-and-a-half years old, hasn’t even seen her father but she wants to hear his voice badly. Nasif, her five-year-old brother, is equally upset.
Sugaila, Naushad’s wife, told IANS that after the publicity generated by the incident since the media took up the issue, it appears that the jail authorities have become strict.
"Now only three colleagues of my husband can meet him in jail. Last week, one of his friends who met him told us that he is fine. However, they have no idea of what would happen to my husband."
"Before all the publicity, we used to at least speak to him over phone from jail. Both the children very badly want to hear their father’s voice," she said sobbing. "We have not told the children anything," she added.
She denied news reports that she and her children were to go to New Delhi to meet the king. The local legislator had informed them that he would make arrangements for them to go to New Delhi.
"The only thing I was told is that our expenses would be met. Going to New Delhi with the two children and the cold weather there now would be a problem. We will certainly go if we can meet the king to plead for mercy," said Sugaila.