With Dh 750,000 overstay fines waived, Indian expat in UAE set to fly back home after 20 yrs

News Network
September 23, 2020

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Sharjah, Sep 23: An Indian expatriate cannot believe that he can finally go home after 20 years, with Dh750,000 of fine waived off by Sharjah authorities.

What's in a name? Even a letter matters, says Thanavel Mathiazhaagan, an Indian worker in the UAE who is set to return home after being granted a waiver of nearly Dh750,000 in overstay fines, reports Gulf News.

The man from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu claims that he could not avail amnesty opportunities in the UAE in the last 20 years as his identity verification was not cleared from India due to a mismatch in his father's name in documents back home and that shown in his passport. As it turns out, there was a spelling error in his father's name in the documents in India.

Mathiazhaagan, 56, said he himself realised this (the reason for not getting the clearance) only after his latest request for repatriation was taken up by two social workers in the UAE after he sought their help to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told media that he had landed in the UAE in 2000 after paying Rs 120,000 (Dh6,048) to a recruitment agent for a job in Abu Dhabi. This could be verified from the stamp on his employment visa entry permit -- the only document that Mathiazhaagan has preserved, apart from a copy of the last page of his passport.

He said the agent had taken his original passport, claiming that his residence visa would be stamped in the passport once he gets the medical fitness certificate issued.

"I took the medical test and waited for my employment visa. But, the agent kept delaying it and later I got to know that the company, which was supposed to hire me, had shut down." Eventually, he said, the agent stopped answering his calls and could not be traced at all later.

"I stayed in a room with some people from my native place. I lived there for eight months with no job. After that I came to Sharjah and started doing odd jobs."

Mathiazhaagan said he illegally stayed in the UAE to feed his family by doing part-time jobs for various households and companies.

He claimed that he did try for returning home during the previous visa amnesty offers in the UAE and lost more than Dh10,000 to people who promised to help him with clearance of his documents that never came through.

Prior to the fine waiver announced till November 17 this year for people with expired visas or who had their visas cancelled before March 1 during the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE government had granted visa amnesties in 2003, 2007, 2012 and 2018.

Gulf News could not independently verify if Mathiazhaagan had indeed applied for an emergency certificate (EC), a one-way travel document issued to Indians without a valid passport, in order to facilitate their return home, during the earlier instances of amnesty.

However, A. K. Mahadevan and Chandra Prakash. P, who helped Mathiazhaagan get an EC through the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said he had failed to get identity clearance from India during the pandemic. They said they found out the reason behind the rejection only after Mathiazhaagan met Mahadevan, seeking help to return home.

"His name is Thanavel Mathiazhaagan as per the copy of the last page of his lost passport and the UAE entry permit," said Prakash, the Vice-President of Indian People's Forum, a community organisation that also pitched to get a travel clearance for Mathiazhaagan.

"Unfortunately, the documents sent by Trichy Regional Passport Office to the Senthurai Police Station for his identity verification showed his father's name as Thangavel whereas his father's actual name is Thanavel -- according to all other records. The additional letter 'g' in the name created the problem," said Prakash.

The duo said they approached the Indian Embassy and the local departments in Mathiazhaagan's village to rectify the mistake and process his documents. "Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor took special interest in solving this case after the issue was taken up with him," said Prakash.

Mahadevan said he was happy that Mathiazhaagan would be flying home soon and meeting his youngest daughter, who had not even been born when he left India for the UAE.

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News Network
October 20,2020

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Bengaluru, Oct 20: Karnataka's Transport Department has made helmets mandatory for all people riding on the two-wheelers and imposed a three-month suspension of driving license for non-compliance.

"As per new directives, helmets are mandatory for all two-wheeler riders who are over four years of age. State govt has imposed a 3-month suspension of driving license along with a penalty in case of violation," said State Department of Transport, Karnataka.

The state transport department has also issued a directive to strictly enforce the old rules for the safety of the riders.

As per the rule, Under the Central Motor Vehicle Act, motorcycle riders must wear a helmet. As per the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rule, all bikers in the state wearing helmets are mandatory.

This new order comes after the Supreme Court's direction to the state's Road Safety Committee to strictly enforce the mandatory helmet-wearing rule for all persons traveling on two-wheelers in the state.

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News Network
October 20,2020

Bengaluru, Oct 20: Two people have been taken into custody in connection with the bomb threat to a special judge hearing the drug case involving celebrities in Karnataka, police sources said on Tuesday.

A family feud in Tiptur of Tumakuru district is suspected to be the reason behind the incident allegedly plotted by rival members who wanted one of their kin to land in trouble, he said without divulging further information.

"Two persons have been detained for questioning. They will be brought to Bengaluru," a top police officer told PTI on condition of anonymity.

An NDPS special judge hearing the drug racket case received a threat letter and a parcel with a detonator on Monday here, demanding grant of bail to two film actresses and those booked in the August 11 violence here.

The person who wrote the letter had warned that a blast would be triggered if the demands were not met. Later, the investigation revealed that there was no bomb inside but some wires which created an impression of a detonator.

According to a preliminary inquiry, the letter was sent from Chelur in Tumakuru district, the sources said adding two people were taken into custody for questioning.

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News Network
October 17,2020
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Bengaluru, Oct 17: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D.K. Shivakumar said on Friday that he would always be looked upon as a Congressman, and not a caste leader.

Speaking to reporters here, Shivakumar said that he is a Vokkaliga because he is an agriculturist and was born to Vokkaliga parents.

“No doubt I am proud of my caste Vokkaliga. But that doesn’t mean that I would indulge in caste or religion-based politics. Being a Congress member and KPCC President, I have only one caste and that is Congress. Why should I speak about other castes,” he shot back to his rivals in general and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumarswamy in particular.

He said that there is no politics involved in attracting people into the party fold and all these things generally happen during every election.

“In every election, our rivals BJP and JD(S) do the same by visiting our party leaders and we also do it, which is just fair and square. Why should anyone be worried about it,” he asked.

Categorically ruling out any race between him and Kumaraswamy for the Vokkaliga leadership, a dominant community in the south Karnataka region to which both leaders belong, Shivakumar said that he has never indulged in caste politics and for him Congress is his only caste.

On Thursday, Kumaraswamy had alleged that the Congress, which lacks a worker base in Rajarajeshwari Nagar (R.R. Nagara) Assembly constituency, was trying to lure his party workers ahead of the by-elections.

R.R. Nagara, along with the Sira Assembly segment in Tumakuru, will go to bypolls on November 3.

With both seats having considerable presence of the Vokkaliga community, winning them is crucial for both the leaders to consolidate their position in the community.

With the community seen as a strong vote base of JD(S), Kumaraswamy is looking at keeping it intact. Shivakumar, who is the top leader in the Congress from the community, is looking at consolidating his position within the party by winning the bypolls.

Winning R.R. Nagar is even more crucial for him as it comes under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency, represented by his brother D.K. Suresh.

In this constituency, Congress has pitted political greenhorn Kusuma H against battle hardened N. Munirathna of the BJP.

In Sira, Congress has fielded party veteran and former minister T.B. Jayachandra against Ammajamma of the JD(S), the widow of late party MLA Sathyanarayana, and Rajesh Gowda of the BJP.

The Sira by-elections were necessitated following the death of JD(S) legislator B. Sathyanarayana in August, while the R.R. Nagar seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Congress MLA N. Munirathna under the anti-defection law last year.

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