KERALA

Singing his way to freedom

When singer K.G. Markose was detained by the Saudi Arabian police on February 10, he secured an early release by doing what he knows best. He sang.

Recalling the ordeal to The Hindu , on his arrival in the State on Wednesday, Mr. Markose said he had been detained prior to a stage programme in Al-Qatif near Damam.

The reason cited for the detention was that the organisers had not taken sanction for the programme. The Saudi police had also received false information that the stage show was a Christmas party and that alcohol was being served at the venue.

He remembered, with a smile now, how the police officials at the detention centre, on hearing that he was a singer, asked him to recite few lines of a song. He promptly obliged.

Web verifies identity

“They seemed impressed, searched my name in the Internet and verified my identity. I spent the night at the detention centre in the company of those who enjoyed my songs. If I was not a known singer, I would have ended up in jail because the Indian Embassy made no effort to communicate with me the whole time and even after my release. Those who came forward to help were some social workers and non-resident Malayalis,” he said. “Once my details were verified, I was moved to a more comfortable place, which was a captain's room. This too was because non-resident Malayalis pulled the right strings,” said Mr. Markose.

“The son of that region's amir (local ruler) came to my help when he learnt that I was a singer. Under his assurance, I was released, but without official verification, on Saturday. The Embassy released a statement saying that I was freed, without checking with me or the officials. So, I was asked to report back on Monday for a possible inspection,” said the singer. He would return to Saudi to complete a few recordings that had to be stopped because of the development.

He said he was thankful to political leaders of the State, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, for communicating with him and the Saudi authorities for speeding the release procedures.

Mr. Markose has been doing stage shows for 15-odd years abroad. He has to his credit a number of devotional and popular Malayalam film songs.

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