Desperate times call for desperate measures. For 37-year-old Olayinka Suleiman it was the death of his son that led to him decide that enough is enough.
Lodged in Lampur Detention Center for foreign nationals since December 2009, six months after he was supposed to be deported from India, Suleiman has decided to go on a hunger strike, in an effort to be heard.
He is not the only one entangled in Indian red tape. Four other inmates have decided to go on a hunger strike from June 1, so that something is done to send them all back home. All of them are Africans caught by different agencies for alleged possession of narcotic substances.
Lampur Detention Center houses all foreign nationals who are to be deported to their countries.
“We have been languishing the detention center for the last many months without the scope of appeal in the High Court after being acquitted by the sessions court,” said Jimmy Oteba (34), a Ugandan who was arrested by the Customs Department in 2005. He was supposed to be deported in January this year.
“No one knows when our appeal will commence or conclude. I was the only earning member of my family, all I want is to go back to my father who is really unwell.” The five Africans have also decided not to consume their prescribed medicines.
“I called my father on November 27, 2009 and informed him that I will be coming back home soon. But they are not letting me go. This is a foreign country, I do not even know what to do. If they will not let me go alive I rather go home dead,” said Vincent Nwac-hukwu, a Nigerian who was arrested by Customs in 2002.
The Africans have sent letters to everyone about their plight starting from the President of India to their respective High Commissions.
“We are knocking on every door possible. We have been punished enough, spent time in jail, all we want now is go home and start afresh. For that we are ready to do whatever is needed to achieve it,” said Joshua Mensah (35) a Ghana national.