'My passport is original and I am very much alive'

Dubai: The media plays a vital role in events and journalists should always provide credible information, a senior Ministry of Interior official said. Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners' Affairs, told Gulf News that mediapersons must always uphold truth and objectivity in their reporting. "The media means a lot to everybody," he said. Maj Gen Al Merri was commenting on what some media published recently about the death of a person on the Air India Express flight from Dubai that crashed in Mangalore. The man was said to be an illegal resident in Dubai and using a forged passport. "I was surprised when I heard such news. I checked about the issue and here is the man sitting in front of Gulf News in my office…He is legal and has never had a problem of any kind here," said Major General Al Merri. "My passport is original, I am a legal resident in Dubai and I am alive," said Shanavas Mohammad Koya, whose passport number and address was flashed on TV screens back home in India on the day the Air India Express flight from Dubai crashed in Mangalore. Koya, father of an eight- month-old daughter Aisha, said he's been working in Dubai for a private company for the past three years. "I have no clue as to how my passport number was listed among the dead and I given a different name. I did not even book a ticket on this or any other flight. I was not even planning to go to India now as I was there on vacation last January," he told Gulf News. "I have no clue what happened to my details and how it got listed on this flight," he said. He said that he first came to know about the issue when he started receiving missed calls on his mobile phone as friends and relatives checked on him. He said he got a call from his family after some journalists approached them telling them that he died in the plane crash. "My family and my wife could not believe that I was alive in Dubai. The TV reports showed my passport number, home address and other details and a lot of my neighbours gathered at my house to offer condolences," he said. Major General Al Merri said that Koya's passport number was listed against the name of Abdul Samad, indicating the use of Koya's name in a fake passport racket. "There could be a mix up in reading the passport number of one of the victims. "The holder of the passport with the mentioned passport number did not exit the country on that day on this unfortunate flight nor any other flight," he said. "We checked in our records too and we found out that there is no Abdul Samad who holds the same passport number as Koya," he said. Major General Al Merri said at Dubai Airport there is a comprehensive system to check forged passports. "It is very rare that one can pass the airport with a fake passport," he said. By Bassma Al Jandaly, Senior Reporter https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/my-passport-is-original-and-i-am-very-much-alive-1.637610
'My passport is original and I am very much alive'
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