Indian driver stuck in Gulf without money for air fare

Indian driver stuck in Gulf without money for air fare

Indian driver stuck in Gulf without money for air fare

If not for the benevolence of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, truck driver Saleem Basha, 45, would still be languishing in a Saudi jail for mowing down nine people in an accident in Jeddah.

On February 11, 2006, Basha, while driving a trailer truck on the Jeddah highway, had crashed head-on into a mini van, resulting in the death of eight Saudi women and the van driver, an Egyptian national.

However, King Abdullah freed Basha from incarceration by paying a royal sum of Rs 9.42 crore as ‘diyya’ or blood money to the families of the dead.

The Saudi court, which pronounced Basha guilty, however, provided him an opportunity of atonement in the form of blood money as prescribed by the Shariah law, by which Basha could buy his freedom paying the victims’ families 653,000 Saudi riyals (Rs 9.42 crore).

But Basha, who earned a meagre 1,200 riyals, was in no position to do so and hence his perpetual captivity.

However, after seven years of confinement, one sunny morning in November 2012, a security guard brought the good news for Basha that he was free, thanks to His Excellency who had paid the ‘diyya’ on his behalf.

Again as per Shariah law, a mercy plea can be made to the Saudi authorities in a traffic accident if the driver meets the criteria of not running away from the accident site, having not consumed alcohol, and speaking the truth.

Narrating the fortuitous turn of events to Deccan Herald was an ecstatic Mehrunisa, Basha’s wife, who said her husband had called her five months ago giving the good news of his freedom and efforts to fly back home.

Mehrunisa, who, following Basha’s misfortune, moved out of her rented home in Guduvali on Mysore Road, along with her children Nawaz and Alramina to her brother’s home, took up tailoring to provide for her children’s education and family’s sustenance.

However, with not a riyal on him to book a flight home, Basha’s only hope now rests on the generosity of his well-wishers to pay for his flight ticket.

For now, though, the Indian Embassy has extended the validity of his passport under ‘special circumstances.’

As for Mehrunisa, she can only hope for another miracle to bring Basha back home for a happy family reunion.