A 51-year old Indian expat living in the UAE, Premchand A, was found hanging from a signage board at a building in Al Ain’s new industrial area, sending shockwaves through the community.
Close friends and family believe the man committed suicide, though an official police statement is awaited.
This 'suicide' comes less than a week after a high-profile Indian social worker, V Sugathan, was found hanging at a construction site in Masafi, Fujairah. The police in this case confirmed the death as suicide.
What’s worse is that financial difficulties are being cited as the driving factor behind both suicides.
Premchand had been working in a contracting company for the last 12 years.
According to Indian social workers in Al Ain, he went to sleep at 11pm but when his roommates got up in the morning, Premchand was missing from his bed.
The friends raised an alarm, began a search and found him hanging from a signage board on the same building.
His body was then shifted to a hospital in Al Ain.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, a person close to Premchand said: “He was planning to go home.
“He ran in into some trouble with his earlier company, which was incurring heavy losses.
“Several workers were not paid their salaries.
“The new sponsor of the company advised him to cancel his visa and go to India.”
The social worker from Al Ain who is working on the case said the reason for his suicide is not known, but financial difficulties is suspected.
“The new sponsor of the company told them that their visa would be cancelled on Tuesday and Premchand was found dead the same day,” the social worker said.
Premchand is survived by wife Indu and two children in high school and college in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Another friend told this website Premchand was in a happy mood a few days before the alleged suicide and had shopped and packed for travelling back home.
According to the Indian Consulate, in 2012 alone, 27 Indians have committed suicide in the UAE.
According to the consulate, 210 Indians committed suicide in 2011 and the growing number of suicides is attributed to financial stress, depression and failure in personal relationships.
Meanwhile, the Indian social worker, V Sugathan, was cremated at the Jebel Ali crematorium.
The social organisation he was working for - Sevanam – is planning to start a new campaign against suicide, alcoholism and the extravagant lifestyle of Indian expats that lead them into debt.
Indian social worker hanged himself: Fujairah police
The cause of death of V Sugathan, the Indian social worker whose body was found in Masafi near Fujairah, was asphyxia as a result of strangulation, the forensic report of Fujiarah Government Hospital says.
Sugathan, who was found hanging from a building under construction, died of asphyxia as a result of strangulation and it is a case of suicide by hanging, confirmed the Fujiarah Police, based on the forensic report of the hospital.
A senior Fujairah police official revealed to Emirates 24|7 that Sugathan V, 61, died by hanging and the reason for death is strangulation and asphyxia.
The police officer also said the family requested the body to be sent to Dubai for local cremation and the police department is awaiting a no objection certificate from the Indian consulate in Dubai.
Meanwhile, friends, colleagues and relatives of the deceased social worker have expressed their shock and anguish over his extreme step and they all feel that his death is a great loss to the Indian community. They remembered the various charity initiatives and anti-suicide campaign carried out by him as secretary of Sevanam Sharjah, which has about 3,000 members.
“We are planning to conduct his funeral at 6 pm at the Jebel Ali Sindhi Electric Crematorium. According to the police, it is a clear case of suicide. We know that our Sharjah union secretary had some financial difficulties but he kept it too close to himself. His indebtedness is not a new problem and he has been facing the problem for several years. We have tried to help him and the Sharjah unit of Sevanam had decided to help him. Individual financial discipline of members is a personal issue but we had tried to solve his problem,” said Vachaspathi, Assistant General Secretary (Overseas), SNDP Yogam.
He said the deceased was a very good social worker and SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellappalli Nateshan is also shocked to hear the sad news. He said there is a mutual help fund created by the association with member’s contribution and part of the fund was to be used for bailing out the secretary.
“However, he was too proud and sold his property back home to settle some of his debt in the UAE,” he said. He helped in the marriage of his sister and other family members back home. His two children are also employed now. “He had liabilities to a money lender in Ajman and the payment was settled through the mediation of some social workers. He had sold part of his property back home to settle the financial matters amicably,” said sources familiar with the case.
Sujathan, who worked as a radiography technician in the Sharjah Health Ministry, earned Dh 8000 per month and he had been living in the UAE for 37 years. “He was a very good social worker and used to help anybody irrespective of his financial problems or his personal issues. Last month, he was involved in helping three Indian workers who were stranded at Sharjah airport for travelling on a fake visa. For three days, the workers without any money were stranded inside the airport and were drinking water from the toilet to survive. It was Sugathan, who took the initiative to go to the airport, gave money to the
stranded workers and helped their repatriation,” remembers Prasad Sridharan, Convener, Social and Community Welfare, Sevanam.
He said: “ Sugathan had worked closely with me and handled many issues. He was instrumental in forming and developing Sevanam.
Now we have 12,000 members and the Sharjah unit, which is the largest, has 3000 members. Sugathan was the secretary of Sharjah unit.”
“He would go to the Health Director or other senior officials in the Sharjah Health Ministry to get special approval to do free X-ray or other medical checks for poor workers. He was the one who convinced and helped an Indian heavy truck driver, who was suffering from severe diabetes. The man’s neighbours had complained to the police about the foul smell from his infected leg and it was Sugathan who got him admitted to the Kuwait Hospital for possible amputation. He was not ready to do an amputation and absconded from the hospital, but later he was convinced and readmitted to the hospital,” Prasad, added.
“He had helped many members in debt. We have helped many members of the community who are victims of money lenders who charge as much as 100 per cent or more interest on their loans. As banks don’t give such loans, many of them resort to borrowing from money lenders by pledging passports. He himself was in deep financial crisis, yet he helped others without anyone getting to know about his own problems,” added another social worker in Northern Emirates. “The main problem is that the middle class expatriates hesitate to discuss their personal problems with social workers or close friends. They are too proud to reveal their problems and in this case also the same thing happened,” he added.