An Indian, who had been sentenced to death in Kuwait for the murder of a Nepali girl, is likely to get a fresh stab at life thanks to generous NRIs in the Gulf region who have paid 'blood money' to the victim's family.
Three Indian businessmen have pooled in Rs 2 million (approx $50,000) to save the life of Kerala's Shoukat Thikaseri, a cleaner in a hotel in Kuwait, who was last year given capital punishment for the death of a housemaid Jamuna Thapa.
But Thikaseri got an unexpected reprieve when Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi took up the issue and approached Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan for help.
He approached M.A. Yusuf Ali, a businessman based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who agreed to donate Rs.1 million.
Soon, more help came.
"Chennai-based real estate businessman Faris Aboobacker and another businessman from Dubai S.S. Aggarwal also contributed Rs.500,000 each," Ravi told IANS.
Ravi then sent Vanaja Thekkad, under secretary in his ministry, to Nepal with the money and got the required papers signed by Thapa's family members. The papers are now going to be sent to the Indian mission in Kuwait from where it will move to the labour ministry.
Thikaseri, who was a cleaner in a hotel at Jehra Al Khasar in Kuwait, reportedly fell in love with Thapa. They both tried to commit suicide after the girl's family opposed their marriage. While Thikaseri lived, Thapa died.
An Islamic court in Kuwait sentenced him to death for the girl's death.
Blood money is money paid as a fine to the next of kin of somebody who has been killed intentionally. Under Kuwait law - also practiced in other countries - the convicted can be acquitted if the family pardons him.
Ravi took up the case after Thikaseri's family approached him. He first met Nepali authorities in Abu Dhabi in January this year when he went to attend a ministerial conference on overseas employment and contractual labour.
They in turn helped the minister trace Thapa's family in Lumbini, Nepal.
After negotiations, the deceased's family agreed to pardon Thikaseri in lieu of Rs.2 million.
Ravi, who had visited Thikaseri's family earlier this week, has assured the family that the government was doing everything to save his life.
In a similar instance, the Andhra Pradesh government recently agreed to pay Rs.500,000 to the wife of a murder victim in Kuwait as part of a settlement deal that will win pardon for another man from Kerala awaiting execution in a Kuwaiti prison.