Local blogger English Girl in Oman covered it here last week, pointing out too the condescension oft meted out to working class Indians here in Oman (and throughout the Gulf).
Only in her case it was 'Terminal'. She died (reported to be due to a stress induced cardiac arrest) after being trapped in the airport for 4 days when the embassy couldn't get her emergency travel documents.
Too accurate Movie title for poor Beebi Lumada, who died from stress after being trapped for 4 (or more) days in Muscat airport.
Muscat Airport is not somewhere I'd want to be stuck for 4 hours, and that's in the so-called Business Class 'lounge'.
At least the Gulf News dug a little deeper here
MUSCAT (AFP) – An Indian woman died after losing her passport and becoming stranded for about four days at Muscat airport, an Indian embassy official in the Omani capital said on Sunday.
The woman, a housemaid identified as Beebi Lumada, "died of some illness" when she was being taken to hospital, the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that "she was suffering from bouts of hysteria."
She had been trying to fly home to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala, on Qatar Airways via Doha where officials turned her back to Muscat on Monday after she lost her passport.
She was forced to stay in Muscat airport's transit area where she was provided with food, the official said, adding the embassy had been in contact with her but "couldn't get any documents."
"On Friday, her health deteriorated, so she was sent to the Ibn Sina Hospital," but she died en route there in an ambulance, the official said without elaborating on the possible cause of death.
The woman's body was being sent back to India.
Of course, the core story was as told by "an Indian embassy official". They got the report out fast because people notice when a woman dies simply due to being trapped in an airport for 4 or 5 days. Amnesty International were calling for a full Omani investigation into the matter.
His Excellency, Mr Anil Wadhwa (left, wearing suit), Indian Ambassador to Oman, very busy cutting a ribbon opening the new Aster Hospital in Sohar, June 2010 (Photo AMEInfo]. Aster Hospital's slogan is 'Big on Care'. Pity HE The Ambassador didn't pick up a greater degree of care for the fate of his own citizen's while he was at it...
Muscat Confidential is reliably informed that many of our local journalists have tried to write about the story (often being Indian themselves) and get some details on this
After all, she was just some poor Indian housemaid, so why should the Embassy get in trouble? This is why the reports from the embassy, including quotes from ace Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, repeatedly stress that Lumada, "suffered from seizures and hysteria". Yeah, right.
Afterall, she'd only been trying to leave Oman, and was left in no-mans land with no contact from the poor helpless Embassy, 'as there was no access for embassy staff to the stranded passenger at the airport.' Oh, and it was, like, a weekend, and the Embassy was too busy attending parties. [note to Ambassador Wadhwa, Hysteria has not been an official psychiatric condition for the past 30 years.]
According to The Indian Express, even the Indian External Affairs Minister can smell a rat, so maybe someone at the Indian Embassy will get some just desserts for such incompetence, as they really did send someone out to investigate.
New Delhi, 12 Oct
The External Affairs Ministry is sending a senior official to Muscat to investigate the case of a woman, who died after being stranded at the airport there for five days after she lost her passport.
"We are sending a senior official of the Ministry to Muscat to conduct an enquiry and report back to me," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters here.
This move comes in the backdrop of reports that embassy officials did not help 40-year-old Keralite Beebi Lumada, a housemaid who was travelling from Muscat to Chennai via Doha by a Qatar Airways flight last week, who lost her passport while in transit at the Doha airport.
There is also a very good follow-up on the story by Sunil K. Vaidya in the Gulf News, quoting the Omani Sponsor as saying he had had the housemaid examined before she left at a Government Hospital who found she had "no health issues"; to news of such official good health the outstanding Indian Ambassador reportedly had no comment, despite it being in direct contradiction to his very own statements made earlier.
Yes, it seems no-one really helped her. As a poor Indian in the Gulf, that's perhaps not surprising, unfortunately.
But does the Embassy's inaction mean they have blood on their hands? Their rapid action to use behind the scenes influence to spike the stories many Oman-based journalists have written suggests the Embassy, at least, don't want anyone asking the obvious questions.