Seven-month-old Bharti knows nothing about the ways of the world. But her Pakistani parents Sita Devi and Dhudaram Koli are now a harassed lot due to her birth on Indian soil.
On Friday, Koli and his family had boarded the Thar Express on return journey to their home at Pau village in Pakistan’s Hyderabad division. The family was not prepared for what awaited them at the Munabao station during immigration check.
Pakistani authorities denied entry to Bharti because her ‘stamp’ was not there on her mother’s passport. Sitadevi was seven months pregnant when she arrived in India with her husband and four children - Devi, Devaram, Mukesh and Mala - in April 2014. During her stay in India, Sita Devi gave birth to Bharti in Gujarat in June 2014. Later, the family had extended their visa period from the initial two-month period.
Bharti’s case is not unique. In April 2014, Pakistani authorities had denied entry to a 14-day-old newborn because of his birth in India. Mai Fatima and Mir Mohammed, residents of Palki Derki village in Pakistan’s Sindh province, were stopped at the same railway station. It needed intervention of officials from the Pakistan High Commission to resolve the episode.
Fatima had arrived in India along with her husband, son, daughter and her brother- inlaw. During the stay in India, she had given birth to the baby on April 14. Besides getting a birth registration certificate from a local hospital, the couple had also informed the Indian authorities about their newborn.
In this case, Gajesingh Rajpurohit, in- charge at the Government Railway Police (GRP) chowki at the Munabao railway station, confirmed the case of Bharti.
He added that the Pakistani couple decided to stay back until they found a way to take their infant along with them to the other side of the border. Railway officials said the couple returned to Jodhpur on the Thar Express. They, however, are not aware whether the couple along with their children is there in Jodhpur or in Gujarat.
Under such circumstances, Rajpurohit said, Bharti’s parents too have to get permission from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and only after that the family ill be able to leave with the infant for Pakistan.