Family attempts futile after paralyzed Indian courier comatose in Riyadh

Family attempts futile after paralyzed Indian courier comatose in Riyadh

Riyadh ,Jan 20: An Indian working with a courier company in Saudi Arabia has been lying comatose in the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital, Riyadh for nine months following a road accident, even as his family’s efforts to bring him back to India have been stymied by the bill for treatment of about 5 lakh Saudi riyals (around Rs 1 crore).

Makde Abubakar, 40, from Shirur, about 10km from Bhatkal, on coastal Karnataka, was hit by a speeding car while crossing the road. He was rushed to hospital and the driver fled the scene.

Since then, Abubakar has been speechless. His wife and four children, all less than 16 years, have been waiting patiently . “We have tried everything. We have to pay a huge sum of money to get him back but and we just don’t have that kind of money . His eldest son is with me in Bhatkal, my daughter keeps visiting me in anticipation of good news but I’m helpless,” Abubakar’s father-in-law Muhammed Ali said.

The family has been in constant touch with the Bhatkal Muslim Jamat in Riyadh, whose efforts too have been futile. “Abubakar’s sponsor was not in Riyadh when the accident happened and in Saudi Arabia, all documents of migrant workers need the sponsor’s signature. In his absence, the hospital admitted him and Abu’s relatives didn’t understand the process,” Dr Zaheer Kola, general secretary , Bhatkal Jamat, told TOI from Riyadh.

He said the first three months passed with the family praying for his recovery .”Later, when they wanted to move him to India, the hospital said they had to clear bills of about 3.5 lakh riyals which they couldn’t afford to pay. Now, the bill has gone up to about 5 lakh riyals,” he said, adding that the hospital is just following its rules.

 The Jamat gave representations to the Indian embassy . “While it received our file, there has been no action. The official first told us he would move the file on priority but even after 15 days, there’s still no response,” Kola said.
As a last resort, the family has got in touch with minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj, who has promised the family the MEA would intervene and sought details of Abubakar to be provided to the embassy in Saudi. She tweeted: `Pl ensure that he gets good treatment in the hospital’ and tagged the Indian embassy in Riyadh.

With Thursday being a half-day and Friday and Saturday holidays, the Jamat will resubmit Abubakar’s file to the embassy on Sunday . “We hope they let him come back,” Ali said.