Scared, lonely and on the wrong side

I am posting this interesting story written by Sarabjit Pandher and published in the The Hindu newspaper. Hope the readers will enjoy this and comment Raza Rumi

Fearing punishment from his stern father, a 13-year-old Lahore boy boarded the first train he spotted at the Lahore station. He had no idea that it was the Samjhauta Express, nor an inkling that his little adventure would land him in prison on the Indian side of the border. That was on January 11, and over a month later, the youngster is desperate to go home. A class VII student in a government school, he sorely misses his mother and little sister and the group of friends he used to hang out with. Even his father’s scolding is a sweet memory compared to the situation he now finds himself in. On Friday, the bewildered boy, along with 15 others, was produced before Principal Magistrate for Juvenile Justice Ajaib Singh in the Amritsar district court. Sharing his handcuffs was a 15-year-old from Bangladesh.

 The Pakistani boy looked at his handcuffs, and plaintively asked this journalist if he could not be forgiven his “small mistake” and allowed to be reunited with his family. The boy recalled that he and his friends had been idling the whole day away and when it was time to go home, he panicked. He ran to the railway station and hopped on to the first train he saw. When Indian Customs officers found him travelling without any document, they handed him over to the Government Railways Police at the Attari station. He was taken into custody, after which the authorities slapped various sections of the law on him for running afoul of the Indian Passports Act and the Foreigners Act. Nothing was recovered from him. He has since been lodged in the Juvenile Prison in Hoshiarpur district. Dressed in grey jeans and a matching full-sleeved pullover and wearing rubber chappals, the boy watched in anguish and longing as family members of local juvenile detainees crowded outside the courtroom. Some of them had a small reunion with their wards. But no luck for the boy, whose pleas for permission to make a phone call to his family were turned down by the Punjab police guards. Seeing his plight, a sympathetic onlooker said: “The law should provide for such innocent kids to be deported immediately.” The 13-year-old’s only hope is his lawyer, D.P. Sharma. If he succeeds in getting him relief, he will be back home. Otherwise, he can face up to five years in prison. The court has fixed February 26 for the next hearing, when charges will be framed against him. The boy’s father, runs a small grocery store in Lahore. The family feels shaken and helpless. He was never a difficult child and was an average student, his father told Mr. Sharma. “If I was strict it was to secure his future,” he said, expressing faith in the Almighty and the Indian judicial system.

5 responses to “Scared, lonely and on the wrong side

  1. I’m sure there was a time, before terrorism, when this would have been seen by the Indian authorities for the innocent situation that it is.

  2. Let us hope and pray this child is released by Judge on next hearimng on 26th. Insha Allah

  3. What about the Pak Customs/immigration??

  4. My heart really breaks at this story. Though I find it crazy to see some comments from the other side of the border. Really sad.

  5. We must appreicate Indian authorities for releasing this innocent boy.

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