Jagannathan Selvara is now back home in Tamil Nadud from Dubai. Jagannathan Selvaraj (48) is the Indian expat in Dubai, who had walked more than 1,000km over two years to attend court proceedings in order to return home.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Selvaraj says he’s braved traffic, heat, sandstorms and exhaustion while trekking through the busy highways of Dubai, travelling a distance of 22km one way to reach Dubai Courts from his Sonapur accommodation (on the outskirts of Dubai) to attend the labour court proceedings.
A bus trip from Sonapur to Dubai Courts costs but a few dirhams, but the poor man did not have even that much money to spare. To cover that distance, Selvaraj had to spend 2 hours for a one-way trip and another two hours for the return journey after every court hearing.
In the four hours, he covered a distance of 54km, and had to undertake that journey every couple of weeks until a verdict on his case was delivered.
Hailing from Tiruchirappalli in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Selvaraj began his court journeys after his mother died back home in an accident and he was denied leave to attend her funeral.
“My case number was 826 and I had to walk 2 hours in the morning to reach the court in Dubai. I used to get up early morning at 4am on the days the court was to hear my case. Every 15 days, I had to walk all the way to the court because I did not have the money to pay for bus or taxi,” he told Khaleej Times.
His case went on for almost two years and Selvaraj recollects that he must have walked at least 20 times to Karama from Sonapur and back, every time covering a distance of 50-plus kilometers in four hours.
“I used to start early in the mornings when it was less hot. From Sonapur, I would walk to Al Qusais, then Al Nahda, the Airport Free Zone and from there on to Karama. I did not have money to buy a bus ticket or take the Metro. Nobody helped me, but I must have attended the court at least 20 times during the two years.”
“After every court hearing, I would hang around until evening to start the return trip,” he said.
“The walk was tough in summer but I did not have any other options. I wanted to escape from these problems.”
He’s now been living in a public park in Sonapur for several months, and says is sick and tired, and just wants to return home.
“He wants a ticket to go home. All his friends who were living in the park have gone home. He cannot walk all the way to India, and needs just a plane ticket to go home,” said a social worker who is trying to help Selvaraj.