Jakkula Ganga Rajam has been trying to move mountains to meet his wife Kontham Susheela and five children who have been stranded in Kuwait for the past four years. The 56-year old Rajam, a native of Adilabad, had worked as a driver in the Middle Eastern country before being deported by authorities for having overstayed there. That his family have little or no documentation, leave alone a passport, to prove that they are Indian citizens has only made matters worse.
While activists admitted that the couple did in fact break rules by overstaying, they said that they had come forward to help them out on humanitarian grounds. Migrants Rights Council (MRC), an organisation working to safeguard the interests of Indians abroad.
"We have requested the ambassador to help the family, currently in a prison. We have also asked him to provide them with legal aid. The issue involves innocent children who have nothing to do with their parents' situation. Hopefully the Indian Embassy (IE) will give them an emergency certificate (EC) for an exit," said MRC vice president M Bheem Reddy.
It was in 1992 that Rajam met Susheela, now 50 years old, who was working as a domestic help in the Arab country. They decided to tie the knot soon after. According to those in the know, marriages of Indians performed abroad must be solemnised by a marriage officer of the IE. Further, those who are already married are required to submit their marriage certificates to the embassy. However, the couple failed to get their marriage registered with the embassy in Kuwait. They also failed to get their children registered as well, depriving them of being recognized as Indian citizens. In 2011, Susheela and her youngest child Swapna, then only a year old, were granted amnesty by the Kuwaiti government and were offered a chance to return to the country. However, she refused as this meant that the other four children would have to live in Kuwait without her. "Susheela's refusal meant that she had violated Kuwaiti law yet again. She and her kids were taken into custody. So far, only one child has been granted EC," said Reddy.
"I am doing whatever I can to get my family back. But I have been working as a daily wage earner after being sent back to India. The income is little and it takes at least Rs 1,000 to make a trip to Hyderabad to speak to officials. My children Maheshwari and Saikumar are teenagers. Naveen is 11, Laya is eight and Swapna is only three years old. Please help me," said a pleading Rajam.