NRI businessman Firoz Hussain Merchant donates Rs 2.5 crore to free 900 prisoners in UAE

News Network
February 28, 2024

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An Indian businessman and philanthropist donated 1 million dirhams (approximately Rs 2.5 crore) to secure the release of 900 prisoners from jails across the Gulf nation since the beginning of 2024. He aims to get 3,000 prisoners released this year.

Firoz Hussain Merchant, 66, owner of Pure Gold Jewellers, donated 1 million dirhams to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities. He is based in Dubai.

This is a message of humility, humanity, forgiveness and kindness ahead of Ramadan, Firoz Merchant's office said.

"Prominent Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant of Pure Gold has donated close to Rs 2.25 crores (AED 1 million) to ensure the release of 900 prisoners from jails across the Arabian nation," said the statement from his office.

Merchant, known for his 'The Forgotten Society' initiative, has already facilitated the release of 900 prisoners since the beginning of 2024.

This included 495 prisoners from Ajman, 170 prisoners from Fujairah, 121 prisoners from Dubai, 69 prisoners from Umm Al Quwain, and 28 from Ras Al Khaimah, according to Maagulf news portal.

Merchant also paid their debts and provided airfare for them to return home, aiming to reunite families and offer a second shot at life, according to Maagulf, an online news portal for the Telugu community residing in the Gulf.

His goal for 2024 is to help over 3,000 prisoners go free.

In conjunction with the Director Generals of Police at the Central Jails across the UAE, Merchant's initiative has helped over 20,000 prisoners over the years, earning him accolades from government officials and prisoners alike.

"I am grateful for the collaboration with the government. The Forgotten Society believes that humanity knows no borders, and we work together to offer these individuals the chance to reconcile with their families and communities," said Merchant.

Colonel Mohammed Yusuf Al-Matrooshi, a UAE official, commended Merchant's dedication to prisoner rehabilitation.

"He has helped countless individuals, and his quiet generosity offers genuine hope to those struggling to pay their fines," Al-Matrooshi said.

Who is he?

Born in 1958 as one of the nine children of Gulam Hussain and Malekbai in Mumbai, Merchant had a childhood of struggles after his father's real estate business failed. At the age of 11 Merchant dropped out of school to help his family financially. 

He found his calling in the gold business during a trip to Dubai at the age of 22 and established the first Pure Gold Jewellers in 1989, which has now grown to more than 120 outlets.

Pure Gold Group consists of FGM Holding, Pure Gold Jewellers, Pure Gold Real Estate Development, La Moda, and Pure Gold Manufacturing.  

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Mangaluru: After as the state health ministry issued guidelines to the public in view of a heatwave, the health department in Dakshina Kannada has advised people to be cautious about the impact of heatstroke, including heat rash, heat edema, heat cramps, heat tetany, heat syncope, and heat exhaustion.

Dakshina Kannada district nodal officer for climate change, Dr Naveenchandra Kulal, said that the impact of heat-related illness can also be found in the district, when there is a variation of about 4.5⁰C from the normal temperature.

Dr Kulal told media persons here on Friday, that the impact of heat-related illness is not confined to Raichur, Kalaburagi, and other North Karnataka districts.

“Those who reside inside tin sheet houses and closed environments are likely to suffer from heatstroke. People should hydrate themselves by drinking more water and avoid working under the direct Sun. Heat exhaust fans can be used. Though no heatstroke cases have been reported in the district, any negligence may cause heatstroke,” he said. 

DHO Dr Thimmaiah HR said that hotels and restaurants should supply boiled water, and they should clean the overhead tanks once every three months. The filter of drinking water units should be cleaned frequently, he said.

He also directed paying guest accommodations to supply fresh food to inmates.

“We have received complaints of many paying guest accommodations serving sambar cooked the previous day to inmates. Stale food should be avoided, as there are chances of food contamination. Plastics should be avoided while packing food in hotels. As per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines, the use of plastic to pack hot food is restricted,” the DHO said.

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News Network
April 17,2024

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Dubai: Dubai was slapped by heavy floods as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was hit by extremely heavy rains on Tuesday. The desert city received over a year and a half's worth of rain in just a day even as heavy thunderstorms lashed other parts of the UAE.

Roads turned into rivers as they were filled up with water. Shopping centres like Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates were also seen flooding.

Schools across the UAE have been shut and are expected to remain closed on today as well.

According to a report by India Today, Dubai airport received about 100 mm of rain in just 12 hours on Tuesday and a total of 160 mm in the last 24 hours.

On average, Dubai receives about 88.9 mm of rain in a year, which concludes that the city received more than a year's rain in a day.

Dubai International Airport said on Wednesday it was experiencing significant disruption due to bad weather and was working to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

Flights have been delayed or diverted and impacted by displaced crew, the airport said in a statement, adding that recovery would take some time.

Dubai's Emirates airline said that it was suspending check-in for passengers departing the airport from 8 am (0400 GMT) on Wednesday until midnight due to operational challenges caused by the bad weather and road conditions.

Dubai International was temporarily diverting arriving flights on Tuesday evening because of a storm, and operations were suspended for 25 minutes earlier in the day.

According to India Today, the airport stopped flight operations and issued a warning earlier today on X.

The Dubai International Airport requested the passengers to check their flight status.

Employees in Dubai have been told to work from home.

The UAE Government took to X and said, "Based on the directives of the Council of Ministers, it was decided to extend remote work until tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17, for all federal government employees, with the exception of jobs that require presence at the workplace, taking into account the weather condition that the country is going through."

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News Network
April 11,2024

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The number of Palestinians arrested by Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank has surged to 8,165 since October 7, when Israel launched its relentless offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society and the Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees in a joint statement on Tuesday said that over the past 24 hours, Israeli forces had arrested 20 Palestinians across the West bank.

The statement said that most of the arrests took place in Tulkarm, with additional arrests scattered across other cities, towns and refugee camps in the West Bank such as Beit Lahm, al-Khalil, Ramallah, Nablus, Tubas, and al-Quds.

The arrests were made amidst reports of widespread abuse, severe beatings, threats against detainees and their families, and extensive vandalism in citizens' homes and prisoners' residences in the Israeli prisons.

In the aftermath of the al-Aqsa Storm, over 8,165 arrests were made in the West Bank, with individuals including children being detained from their homes, at military checkpoints, coerced into surrendering, and even taken hostage, the statement revealed.

These figures do not include the thousands of adults and children the Israeli army has detained, tortured and interrogated in makeshift prisons across Gaza, outside any legal or civilian oversight.

Conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have allegedly worsened considerably, with detainees experiencing extreme overcrowding and limited access to essential rights, including food, water, electricity, medical care, family visits, and legal assistance.

Palestinian prisoner groups have repeatedly reported that Palestinians in Israeli prisons are being denied medical care, which pushes those jailed to the brink of death.

At least 10 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons since Israel’s war on Gaza began, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA. But an investigation by Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that the number was actually at least 27. Rights groups put the number even higher.

Israel has intensified its attacks against Palestinians throughout the West Bank since October 7, when it launched a devastating war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Since then, the Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 459 Palestinians from the West Bank, with over 4,750 others sustaining injuries.

In the span of the past six months, at least 33,482 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza. The relentless violence has also resulted in the mass displacement of the 2.3 million people inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

Concerns have been raised regarding the fate of those who have gone missing, as they may be trapped beneath the rubble or confined within makeshift Israeli prisons.

The significant number of Palestinian detainees remaining in Israeli prisons is a crucial role in truce negotiations between Palestinian resistance group Hamas and Israel.

About 130 of the 250 Israeli captives taken during Operation Al-Aqsa Storm are still in Gaza after a provisional truce deal in December saw the exchange of a number of prisoners between the two sides.

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