A case of ‘dead Indian walking’ in Bahrain

October 11th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 11 (IANS) A company’s failure to properly update its employee records has led to the wrong identification of an Indian killed in a worksite accident in Bahrain.Vijay Kumar, 33, woke up Friday to read the news of his death at a construction site in Bahrain.

Kumar, it was reported, was trying to get into his excavator’s loader when he was hit by a massive drilling machine Thursday at Tubli, south of Manama, killing him on the spot.

However, the dead man has now been identified as 31-year-old Indian Mathew Sebastian, who had taken up Kumar’s job as the latter was on leave.

Kumar’s leave had started Sep 30 and he was preparing to go to his home in Hoshiarpur in Punjab. However, the company’s records did not show that Sebastian had been assigned Kumar’s excavator loader’s job.

“Though it was Mr. Sebastian who was operating the loader, some records apparently still showed Mr. Kumar as the operator,” reports quoted R.S. Nair, general manager of Al Haidariya Heavy Equipment Hiring, which employed Kumar and Sebastian, as saying.

Hence, police and the Salmaniya Medical Complex, where the worker’s body was taken, revealed the name of the deceased as Vijay Kumar.

“I first heard the news of my death from my roommates in the afternoon. They called me and said that I was being mourned for on site. They also told me that the reports were also in the newspapers,” Kumar said.

“I did not know what to do, to get angry or laugh. But the first thing I did was call home and informed my family that I was all right.”

Sebastian, it has been reported, was married in June this year and is survived by his wife Reena in India.

Company sources told the Gulf Daily News that Sebastian was at the wrong place when the incident happened.

“The rule is that the loader should be in the vicinity to take away the extracted material when the driller is stationary,” the source said.

“As Mr. Sebastian was getting into the loader to drive away, the drilling machine started operating and took a swing to extract its load. That is when Mr. Sebastian was hit and got crushed between the drilling machine and the loader.”

Police have launched an investigation into the incident and arrested the drilling machine’s operator, Mohammed Hafiz Abdul.

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