Riyadh, Jun 26: Biding his time in Saudi Arabian jail, Shaukat Abdul Samad, a native of Kollam in Kerala, never thought he would be a free bird, one day. Moved by his harrowing tale, the Saudi Arabian King has paid off the hefty blood money of Riyal 1, 85,701 (Rs 20 lakh).
Samad's (35) Arabian dreams turned sour with an accident in 2004 in which the car he was driving rammed a Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company bus. While Samad escaped with minor cuts and bruises three occupants of the car — a Saudi citizen, his wife and daughter, died on the spot.
Once released from the hospital, he was jailed and a Sharia court asked him to pay the blood money to the next of kin. Hefty damage was beyond his reach and for the family back home, wallowing in poverty and penury, it was out of question. King Abdulla’s Delhi visit in January turned a blessing for the hapless family. Petitioned through Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed, it bore fruit.
“We don’t know how to thank His Highness. With his release, our family can regain its lost rhythm,” expressed Shaukat, the 75-year-old father, who is waiting for his son. With the sole bread earner’s jail term, even single meal a day was a luxury for them. In the petition Samad’s wife, Sameela, explained their deteriorating situation at home. “We will never forget the royal gesture that has given us a fresh lease of life,” she said.
“I profusely thank the King for Samad’s release. Many such countrymen are languishing in Gulf jails for minor offences, the government would do everything to help them out,” Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed told HT.
In April, another Indian from the same town, Naushad, who was sentenced to have one of his eyes gouged for partially blinding a Saudi youth, was pardoned by the victim. Naushad's wife had petitioned the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who was the chief guest at the
Republic Day celebrations, this year. About 15 lakh Indians are working in the oil rich kingdom.