Nepal's 'Bryan Adams' arrested in Dubai
Mar 31, 2007 - 12:51:04 PM

Kathmandu, March 31 - A popular Nepali pop singer, dubbed Nepal's Bryan Adams for his husky baritone, has been arrested in Dubai for reportedly violating an employment contract, triggering outrage among his fans.

Sabin Rai, 33, from Dharan in eastern Nepal, enjoys fan following in India as well as Nepal and among the Nepali diaspora abroad.

According to a report, Rai had gone to Dubai this month along with at least nine other Nepali actors and musicians to take part in a concert.

However, when the group were returning home March 19, Dubai Police arrested Rai from the airport, Nepali entertainment website reported.

No one knew about his whereabouts for a week, the website said. It was only after the organisers of the concert and the Nepali embassy in Abu Dhabi began to make attempts to have the singer released that the news reached Nepal.

Rai was reportedly on the UAE blacklist for having violated an employment contract with a Dubai company, for whom he used to work in the Emirates. His employers are said to have had filed a complaint against him, resulting in his arrest.

There is speculation that Rai could have been working for Pizza Hut.

The incident highlights a common occurrence with Nepali workers employed abroad. A large number of them land in prisons abroad for violating immigration or other laws in the host country.

Despite enjoying a high profile in Nepal, Nepali artistes have been known to seek jobs abroad in restaurants due to the uncertainty and lack of money plaguing Nepal's entertainment industry.

The news of Rai's arrest triggered anger among his fans, who accused the Nepal government of not protecting its citizens.

'Artistes are supposed to be valuable - treasure,' the website said. 'Isn't it the duty and responsibility of Nepal government to do something about this issue?'

Over five dozen messages poured in, expressing shock, sorrow and anger at Rai's fate.

'Let's - Nepal government,' said a fan identifying himself only as Surend. 'Let's do a peace rally in Kathmandu and Dharan, demanding the government do something about it as quick as possible.'

However, some readers, who had worked in the Gulf, also said that the UAE was not Nepal and the law should not be violated.

'All Nepalis working here should know that rules should not be violated anywhere,' wrote a reader calling himself Bipin. 'It is a lesson for all of us.'

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