Despite having spent five years in jail for crossing over to India illegally, a Bangladeshi family of six, comprising a couple and their four children, still wants to make India their home. The family has, hence, sought the help of a lawyer in Pathankot to push forward their case for obtaining Indian citizenship. As of now, they are putting up under the open sky in Tarn Taran.
The family of Sona Ali, originally a resident of Myanmar (Burma), was arrested by the BSF in 2008, when they entered the Indian soil. The Tarn Taran police had registered a case against them in this regard at Chobhal police station. A court sentenced them to nine months' imprisonment.
The family was later sent to a transit camp in Amritsar. "We want to continue living in Punjab, India, as the conditions back at home are not conducive for us," he said. "We want Indian citizenship for ourselves and our children," said Zahira Begum, wife of Sona Ali. Ironically, their countries of origin (Bangladesh and Myanmar) had refused to take them back when the Tarn Taran police made efforts to get them deported.
"Efforts were made to establish contacts with Myanmar and Bangladesh to deport them, but both the countries refused to accept them," said Harvinder Singh, SP(D), Tarn Taran. However, respite came when an NGO filed a writ petition in high court and demanded one-year visa from Indian embassy and home ministry.
The SP added that on the directions of high court the government provided one-year visa to the family. "The court also issued orders for the release of the family on July 27, this year," he said. He added that the Amritsar Central Jail authorities transferred the Bangladeshi family to Tarn Taran. He further said that the Tarn Taran district administration has been apprised of the matter, while NGOs are being approached to arrange shelter for them.