A teenage boy who spoke to his mother in Pakistan for the first time since he was separated from her five years ago after Hindustan Times reported his case is now hoping to be reunited with her.
“Ma’am, aapne meri mummy se baat kara di, ab aap mujhe Pakistan bhi bhej dogi na? (Ma’am, you helped me talk to my mother. Now, will you also send me to Pakistan ?)” a joyous Mohammad Ramzan said when he met this correspondent on Tuesday morning.
Ramzan, 15, was separated from his mother when his father Mohammad Kazol took him to Bangladesh and remarried. Harassed by his stepmother and neglected by his father, Ramzan left his home and crossed over to India about two-and-a-half years ago after his friends advised him to travel to Pakistan via India.
After entering India, he travelled to Ranchi, Mumbai, New Delhi and other cities before he was caught by the Government Railway Police in Bhopal and handed over to a shelter home in October 2013.
Ramzan, who was depressed and hopeless two weeks ago, now appears to be optimistic. After the Hindustan Times reported about him, Ramzan found a real “Bajrangi Bhaijan” in Bhopal in Hamza Basit, a 20-year-old student of chartered accountancy.
Unlike the character played by Salman Khan - who helps reunite a hearing and speech impaired girl with her family in Pakistan - Basit used technology and social media to convey Ramzan’s plight across the border. Basit circulated the news report with some additional information on social networking sites.
Pakistani journalist Syed Talim Rasool contacted Basit through WhatsApp and provided the phone numbers of UNICEF and child protection unit coordinator Aamir Murtaza.
Ramzan had said his home was in Moosa Colony of Karachi and Pakistani activists pasted posters with Ramzan’s photo in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas.
One of the posters was spotted by the man who had married Ramzan’s mother. His mother then contacted Ramzan through the man in whose house she works as a maid.
Ramzan said: “I couldn’t believe my ears when I talked to my mother (Begum Razia) on the phone after five years. I also talked to my sister Zora and my friends in Moosa Colony of Karachi.”
Sharing his happiness, he said, “My mother was not aware that I ran away from my father’s house (in Bangladesh) and reached India. She cried a lot. She asked about me and asked about the food I get. I told her that I eat dal chawal here and she said, ‘Beta achche se rehna, kahin jana nahi, mein tumhe Pakistan bulaungi or tumhara manpasand non-veg khilaungi.’
“My mother has been talking to me over phone for the past three days,” he added.
Basit said he had decided to help reunite Ramzan with his mother after reading the report in Hindustan Times. He credited several people for the breakthrough in establishing contact with the teenager’s mother.
“I circulated the news with some additional information through Facebook and WhatsApp. Those who helped me contact Ramzan’s mother include Pakistan resident Syed Talim Rasool, the UNICEF unit in Karachi, child protection unit coordinator Aamir Murtaza, social welfare officer Tahir Mehmood, Karachi child protection unit psychologist Rizwana Jubeen and the Childline director in Bhopal, Archana Sahay,” he said.
Aamir Murtaza told Hindustan Times on phone from Karachi, “We came to know about Ramzan through a report in Bhopal. We pasted posters of Ramzan at Moosa Colony. Ramzan’s mother has also remarried.
“The man identified him and informed us over phone. Ramzan’s family is a refugee family from Bangladesh. Ramzan’s mother is extremely happy after finding her son. Now, we are going to initiate the process through the social welfare department of Pakistan to allow Ramzan to live with his mother.”
Childline director Archana Sahay said, “I am extremely happy that Ramzan talked to his mother after two years of hard work by us, but without the HT report it could not have been possible. Pakistan’s social welfare department secretary and child protection unit contacted us from Karachi. They have sent us a mail and photographs as proof.
“I contacted the joint director of the women and child welfare department here in Bhopal. The joint director asked us to send details. After getting these, they will send it to the home department for initiating the process,” she added.