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A Dubai Metro train speeds past Sheikh Zayed road in Dubai. – AFP (File Photo)

DUBAI: An Indian man committed suicide in Dubai by throwing himself under a train after his employer refused him the right to return home, newspapers in the Gulf emirate reported on Thursday.

A driverless Dubai Metro train struck the man on an elevated track on Monday, the Gulf News daily said. “His body was left beyond recognition and police took two days to identify him,” it reported.

The 36-year-old had “used an emergency fire exit to access the track,” the paper quoted Dubai deputy police chief General Khamis al-Mazeina as saying, adding he was thought to have been under the influence of alcohol.

A friend of the victim who had been in Dubai since 2010 told police the man “was depressed and unhappy because he wanted to go back home but the sponsor, for no clear reasons, was not letting him go,” said Mazeina.

The Indian man's work visa had been cancelled after he lodged a complaint about his employer. Under the sponsorship system for foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates, employers take possession of their passports.

“We are investigating why the company delayed sending” the man back home, Mazeina said.

The suicide is the first of its kind reported since the Dubai Metro began operations in September 2009.

Platforms in metro stations are protected by glass doors that slide open only when a train is there.

The UAE and other Gulf countries have come under repeated criticism from human rights groups over their treatment of millions of foreign workers, mostly South Asians.

The watchdogs have particularly criticised the sponsorship system, still in force in most Gulf states, by which workers must be sponsored by their employer, and have likened it to modern-day slavery.

Comments (15) Closed

Seriously! Dec 06, 2012 11:15am
Thats Sad! RIP
Naseem Akhtar Dec 06, 2012 12:55pm
This Disneyland built on the blood and sweat of the labour from subcontinent is shamelessly inhumane to the workers.
aku Dec 06, 2012 11:02am
This is not a new story in UAE.... very sad
sparkysingh Dec 06, 2012 12:31pm
The employers keeping the passport is unfair. Countries such as Pakistan and India should get this practice abolished with the help of international pressure via UN or any other means. The laborers and other semi skilled workers that are employed in Gulf can't really stand up to their employers if treated unfairly, hence they should at least have the liberty to leave the country if they wish to do so. This is not an issue that is given much importance because the people who are affected the most come from the part of society that have the least say even in their home countries.
Syed Saad Dec 06, 2012 12:32pm
As a Dubai based expat Pakistani, I am deeply offended at the insinuation that it is the UAE law that allows employers to keep passports, when in fact UAE law has already declared it illegal. UAE has the most balanced sponsorship system in the MIddle East. Any employee who has had his passport forcefully taken by his employer has every right to complain to the labour authorities and strict action will be taken against such employers. However, it is because of povery, fear of losing the job and returning home or simply ignorance of the law which makes some individuals surrendering their passports to the employers. Pakistan and India are extremely poor countries and their governments do nothing to alleviate the situation for their ordinary citizens. It is no surprise, that some people would go to extreme steps including suicide if they lose their jobs and have to return to their home countries.
G.A. Dec 06, 2012 01:17pm
These Western nation states are a result of an evolutionary process and hardwork through scientific learning. You cannot compare them with these artificial gas stations that have suddenly found wealth thanks to the West.
OK Dec 06, 2012 04:52pm
Dont be offended for being ignorant. While forcibly holding your employees pp may be illegal, "servants" of even semi influential employers do no have recourse to the law in the short term. You (should) know that. If you got in a car accident with an emirati who do you think would be at fault? How about a fight? Kind of like Pakistan isn't!!! Having the most balanced sponsorship system in the ME doesnt mean much. Its the equivalent of saying Peru has the best cricket team in LatAm
Sayyid Ali Dec 06, 2012 05:55pm
People criticizing UAE for its inhumanity must bear in mind that for last five decades they are the reason for a vibrant middle class in our country which only had feudals, generals and bureaucrats at the time of independence.
shajjaj Dec 06, 2012 06:30pm
One word " Slavery"
Julie C Dec 06, 2012 06:36pm
This incident should then be a test for the UAE law. If the cause of suicide was in fact the passport issue and if this law is really a 'law', we should see the employer prosecuted.
janan Dec 06, 2012 06:51pm
India should check with uae rulers. And ask for complete report on this incident do whatever they can to teach a telling lesson to the employer who was keeping the passport of the poor fellow.
KPMishra Dec 06, 2012 07:39pm
A very sad news. .
abc Dec 06, 2012 08:35pm
I was working in Germany, when i got a job offer for Riyad, Saudi for much better salary and other packages. I was appalled to know that my passport will be kept by my employer upon my arrival there, inspite of my education, and the nature of highend job. I refused the offer and promised myself to never ever entertain any job offer from the gulf region, because of their gross dissrespect for human rights and humans, in general.
rahul Dec 06, 2012 09:14pm
Trust me our governments are also equally responsible for this, no matter what happens our governments will not say a word.
fahdabbasi Dec 07, 2012 07:40am
the employers must be severly punished and banned if they are at fault