Y Magazine

Indian Embassy to act after suicides

The Indian ambassador to Oman this week pledged to offer more help to workers following the suicide of four Indian expatriates in 10 days.

Part of this will include improving outreach programmes in Muscat and the Interiors to reach workers.

In the past, the cause of suicides among Indian expatriates has been loneliness, debt, pressure in the workplace, family issues and depression.

“We will step up our current efforts, like reaching out to the community using all means, visiting workers’ camps and holding community meetings. Our door is always open to extend help to the needy,” Indian Ambassador Indra Mani Paney was quoted by a local newspaper in Muscat.

Regular visits are being made to workers’ camps in Muscat and further afield to reach those who may be suffering in silence.

In 2011, 25 Indian expatriates, including two women, committed suicide in Oman over a six-month period up to June 30, revealed the Indian Embassy’s community welfare department.

Since 2013, 123 Indians have taken their own lives in Oman, according to V K Singh, Minister of State of Overseas Indian Affairs. The highest number of suicides (541) happened in the UAE.

On average, five Indians had reportedly committed suicide every month in Oman in 2013, but the number came down to three in 2014, official data has revealed.

The latest suicides included a worker for a cleaning company in Al Hail. The man, who has been named as Rejimon Bhaskaran from the south Indian state of Kerala, was found dead in his apartment last Friday (May 13).  He was unmarried and had been working in Oman for nine years.

“He didn’t turn up for duty on Sunday. When we went to his accommodation, we found him dead hanging in the room,” a close friend told a local newspaper.

On the same day, an Indian woman from Mumbai was found dead hanging in her apartment in Al Khuwair. On May 8, a worker at a bakery in Khabourah in the Al Batinah region was also reportedly found hanging from a tree near his workplace.

The fourth victim, a cleaner, was discovered hanged in his accommodation in Nizwa.

Experts believe the deaths could mark anther cycle of “copycat” suicides in Oman.

“Some four years ago, every six days one Indian used to commit suicide in Oman. I am afraid that kind of situation is returning,” said Rita Samuel, an Indian social worker in Oman for 19 years.

Speaking to a local newspaper, she added: “I have decided to visit workers to lend whatever possible help I can from today.”