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Saddam Hussein says he’s paying for another’s crimes

Marine engineer remains unemployed despite going for 40-odd interviews because employers worry they would have to keep getting him out of ‘sticky situations’ at airports.

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PETALING JAYA: A marine engineer remains unemployed despite attending over 40 job interviews simply because his name Saddam Hussein has given prospective employers reason to fear he will be a hindrance to their organisations.

In a report in the Hindustan Times, the 25-year-old from Jharkhand, in eastern India said he was named Saddam Hussein by his grandfather in honour of the Iraqi ruler.

However the notorious dictator, with a string of atrocities to his name, was feared by his people and finally executed by the US in 2006 after his government was toppled in 2003.

The dictator’s infamy however lives on as the young Saddam is tormented by unemployment simply because multinational shipping companies in India refuse to employ a man whose name will arouse instant suspicion.

“People are scared to hire me,” the young Saddam was quoted by the daily as saying.

For the first six months, Saddam was stumped as to why he was rejected time and again while those in his batch gained employment relatively easily.

“I then inquired with the HR departments of the companies and some of them told me my name was the problem,” he said, adding that they said having one crew member with such a name would be an operational nightmare.

A top executive of Delhi-based TeamLease Services, a leading recruitment consultant, told the Hindustan Times that if Saddam’s job involved frequent travel abroad, the company may likely have to pull him out of “sticky situations” often, making it cumbersome for management.

“Even Shah Rukh Khan gets detained at US airports. What is this Saddam in comparison?” the executive said.

Taking matters into his own hands, Saddam legally changed his name to Sajid and ensured his passport, voter ID and driving licence bore the new name. But employers were not so easily persuaded.

His education certificates still bore the name Saddam Hussein and his university has refused to change the name until his other exam certificates are changed first.

As a last resort he approached the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for a name change, but the authorities have not acted yet, the daily said.

Desperate, Saddam, now Sajid, moved the Jharkhand high court with a plea to direct the CBSE to change his name but owing to rampant abuse of the system, the court is acting with caution. Last week, it set the date for a considered hearing on May 5.

Saying he was still fond of his grandfather despite all the trouble he has got into, the young unemployed man will have to wait it out until the court puts this right for him.

“I am an innocent victim of somebody else’s crimes,” he said.

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