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Missing Indian found after 40 years in Dubai

Dubai: In an unexpected reunion, an Indian man who disappeared 40 years ago from his hometown was found out by his friends in the UAE in a hospital here.

Abdulla Punathil Usman who hails from Kerala was discovered after his friends began a frantic search for his family through the media when he was admitted to Dubai Hospital with a heavily infected foot two months ago, Gulf News reported yesterday.

Usman who is in his 60's was working as a cook in an Arab national's house in Hor Al Anz since the early 1970s.

"He hails from Chakkavad in Thrissur district in Kerala. My brother Khalid and I happen to be from a village close-by and met him in Dubai over 20 years ago," Abdul Gafoor, a Dubai-based auto driver was quoted as saying by the paper. He said when word about Usman went out, he began to receive a barrage of calls. However Haneefa another driver from Abu Dhabi was able to identify Usman.

Haneefa said he was intrigued by his name and native place as he too came from Chakkavad.

"I remembered that when I was in school, one of my mother's brothers had left for the Gulf, never to return.

There was no news of him ever since. I felt a compelling urge to meet this man", Haneefa added. Meanwhile, Usman could even recollect instances from their early days but he gave no explanation for his long silence. "It's nothing, the years have just gone by," he said.

Usman is still single and has been content with the same job for so many years. He is ready for discharge once his hospital bill is cleared.

"It's a huge amount ¿ Dh18,040 (over Rs 3 lakhs) as of Monday ¿ and we are hoping it will be settled soon. With Usman's visa due to expire on November 15, his new found family is looking to take him to home. We plan to fly him down next week," Haneefa said.

"I will visit my native place and meet my family," Usman said.

An officer from Indian Consulate visited Usman at Dubai Hospital and conveyed to him that the mission would provide assistance to facilitate his return to Kerala, the report said.

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