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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Kerala group rallies support for families of men killed in gas blast

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An Indian community organization is appealing for additional financial support for the families of three men killed in an explosion at a Turkish restaurant near Landmark Mall in February.

Abdul Saleem Pulikka, Mohammed Riyas and Zakaria Padinjare Anakandi, all from the Kerala region of southern India, were among 11 people who died in the blast in Duhail. Five others from Indian were killed, as well as four Nepalis and two Filipinos.

Qatar officials said the accident was was caused by leaking liquid petroleum gas (LPG) from a pizza oven at the restaurant.

All three men had arrived in Doha six months before the incident, and worked at Tea Time, a shop next door to the Istanbul restaurant, where the blast originated. Though the Turkish eatery was empty, Tea Time had several people inside.

It sustained significant damage in the explosion, and seven out of 10 employees on shift at the cafe died.

Impoverished families

The three Keralites were married with children, and working in Qatar to support their families back home, according to officials from the Doha branch of the KMCC (Kerala Muslim Cultural Center).

Pulikka, 35, hailed from the Malappuram district of Kerala and was an only child. He has a three-year-old daughter, a 20-year old wife, and also supported both his parents.

Anakandi, 37, hailed from the Calicut district. He leaves behind a 34-year-old wife, a 10-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, as well as his mother, who he also supported financially. He was also the family’s only breadwinner.

Riyas, 33, also came from Calicut. He is survived by his 31-year-old wife and two children – a seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter – as well as his mother. He had recently taken out a loan to complete the construction of his house.

Immediately after the deaths were announced, KMCC member Kunnumal Hamza said he traveled to meet the victims’ families himself. Speaking to Doha News, he said:

“I visited two of the families – they are very very poor. Both families had started the construction of a house, but they’re not finished yet, and they have two children, each family…so all four of them are orphans now. So that’s why we decided to do something from our side, from our committee.”

Support

Last week, 60 Doha KMCC members got together and donated QR18,500 to support the victims’ families. Although this was an encouraging start, Hamza said that he would like to raise four times that amount to give each family enough funds to support itself.

To this end, the KMCC will gather again on April 24th to invite more contributions, which will then be managed and distributed by KMCC leaders in Kerala.

Any funds donated will be an “additional benefit,” Hamza said, to add to a QR6,000 per family donation already made by the Qatari government to the families, and an initial compensation payment of QR30,000 per family from the owner of Tea Time.

Speaking to the Gulf Times after the blast, the Indian Embassy heavily criticized this payment from the owner, saying that it was “far from enough” to help the families recover from the loss of their sole bread winners.

The embassy told the newspaper that it planned to appeal “at the appropriate levels” for this amount to be increased, citing Qatari labor law, which states that every family of an employee who dies at work is entitled to insurance compensation of QR200,000. It’s understood, however, that these men were not insured by their employer.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s prosecutor’s office has referred the gas blast investigation results to the criminal court, where the Turkish restaurant operator may be facing charges over the deaths.

Hamza told Doha News that whether further compensation was granted, his community group felt bound to help the families out of their plight.

“It is my duty to support their families, my community and my friends together. That’s the only aim. If there is any support needed from our side, I am ready to do that. But the other side, the legal side, I don’t know exactly what will happen. But we have to do our duty, that’s it.”

Anyone wishing to help the families of the victims can contact Kunnumal Hamza on 5552-5991.

Thoughts?

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the ages of the deceased and their children. It also has been corrected to state that compensation was paid to the families by Tea Time, and not Istanbul Restaurant.

14 COMMENTS

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Suhail Rehman
Suhail Rehman
7 years ago

While the efforts of KMCC have to be commended in helping out their community members in need, it’s sad and shameful that the family members have to endure undue delay and/or fight for compensation for these people who died on their job. What’s even sadder is the fact that Tea Time is partly owned/managed/and operated by Keralites.
All employees in this country must be insured against workplace fatalities and/or injuries, period.

AEC
AEC
7 years ago
Reply to  Suhail Rehman

Keep in mind insurance prices are reflected in an accurately assessed level of risk. There could be some pretty expensive policies required.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

All businesses have running costs. Insurance is one of them. The golden rule of insurance is that if you can’t afford the loss, you should insure.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Suhail Rehman

While I support insurance for workplace fatalities and/or injuries, keep in mind that the opinion of a good number of Muslim scholars, especially in our region, is that life insurance is not allowed in Islam.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Really? I find that strange. Do they consider the provision of life insurance encouraging people to kill themselves for money?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Well, as best as I can tell you, their logic (and I use the term very loosely) is that it’s akin to gambling in that these policies tend to be set for a specific number of years, and so if the policy expires then you get nothing back for what you paid. Same applies in case you have to pay several set payments to be covered; you may get to cash it in after the 1st payment, or you may pay many payments and still get nothing back unless the insured dies.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

OK. I can see how they are trying to protect the consumer from unscruplous insurance companies but in general I think it is a good idea that your family get some financial help in case you die unexpectedly.
I’ve always wondered about the lotteries in the middle east, for cars at airports as well as other items at shopping malls. I always thought that was gambling, but I was told ‘no sir, this is a lottery’…..

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Actually, real lottery, where you buy a ticket and just hope to win, would qualify as gambling. However, if you’re entered into a lottery for simply purchasing items that you would have bought anyway, then that’s different. At least that’s the justification given.

Ali
Ali
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

You are absolutely right. Plus it also involves Riba (Interest) which is haram.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Okay, let me ask you this; someone borrowed, say, QAR 10,000 from me back in 2000. They didn’t pay me back until 2008. The purchasing power of the 10,000 has gone down during that time; meaning that it has gone down in value. How do you account for this without interest?

Ali
Ali
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

This will help
http://islamqa.info/en/23388

Summary:
If you borrow 50 pounds from a person or an institution for a period of five years, you have to pay back this amount in the same currency, even if its value goes down (because of inflation), so long as transactions in this currency are still valid.

We have already explained in Question no. 12541 that paying extra on a loan because of devaluation of the currency is haraam and is regarded as a kind of interest. This is the view of the majority of fuqaha’.

Net-guy
Net-guy
7 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Ok, where to purchase 1 million US dollars for 1000 QAR/UED? I know they had already sold out, right…lol
That is one of the standard lotteries they have at QDF and DDF..
Am I not understanding something..
lotteries = gambling….yes

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
7 years ago

It is good to see a community pulling together; it is a shame that is often takes a tragedy for it to happen.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago

Istanbul restaurant should be sued

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