On eve of World Humanitarian Day, Anadolu Agency profiles Indian philanthropist Oberoi, who has set 98% of income for charity.
NEW DELHI (AA) – As many as 17 Indian prisoners on death row in the UAE got a new lease of life in 2013 when an Indian businessman Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi paid $1.4 million as blood money. They had been convicted of the murder of a Pakistani national in 2009.
Also known as Saviour Singh, Oberoi has emerged as a hope for many Indians working in the Middle East.
According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, 3.42 million Indians are living in the UAE.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on eve of World Humanitarian Day, which is being observed on Thursday, Oberoi said he paid the blood money to seek the release of boys as he had got intrigued at handing over death sentence to 17 people for the killing of one person.
“I found it was a group fight and many accused were not involved,” he said.
In many societies, the blood money is offered by the offender as compensation to the family of the victim. If the family of the victims accepts the compensation, the court can free the offenders.
Originally from the Indian province of Punjab, Dubai-based Oberoi said he has helped not only Indians but Pakistani and other nationals also, who were in distress.
He was in the news recently for extending financial help to arrange repatriation flights for the migrants stranded in the UAE.
“Till date, I have saved 119 people from death sentences and life imprisonment. I paid blood money of over $2 million to free these people,” he said.
But he hastily added that he helps only those people, who are innocent and not those who are directly involved in murder, rape, and drug-related cases.
He has been also helping to return the bodies of deceased Indians to their country. So far, his organization has helped 247 families to get the bodies of their relatives back.
Oberoi who also heads Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust has won several awards. The businessman said he donates 98% of his income to the public welfare.
“We have started helping the people since 2011 and I am sure I will not stop my work which I presently do of philanthropy,” he said.
Oberoi is also engaged in arranging flights for the incarcerated people, who have completed their prison sentences.
“Many of them were inside the jail from the last three years even though they had completed their jail terms. I then contacted the Indian consulate and got their documents made and brought them back to India,” he said.
Oberoi said that he gets regular calls from people in distress in UAE.
He is currently focusing on building healthcare projects in the Indian province of Punjab and elsewhere.
“We have installed oxygen plants recently in Punjab. My focus is to build health services in different areas so that people benefit from them,” he added.