UK dream gone sour: Indian finally to be deported
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Last Updated: Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 18:58
  
London: An Indian national, who was desperate to be deported and return to Punjab after his dream of a better life in Britain ended up living in squalor and filth on the streets of Leicester, has finally got his wish.

The sight and story of Sarbjit Singh (32) living on the streets of Leicester, which has a large community of Indian-origin, made news as local officials and MPs tried to help him return to India.

The deadlock in Singh's case was broken on Monday night when the UK Border Agency secured an agreement with the Indian authorities for him to return to India, reports from Leicester said.

He was detained by Leicestershire police yesterday and handed to the agency.

Singh, who paid human traffickers to smuggle him into Britain seven years ago, was living on the Greenlane Road in Leicester for the last four months, along with another illegal immigrant, Ashok Masah (40).

Both did not have any documents to prove their identities. Masah's case has not been decided yet.

The two Indians, who have been caught in a maze of immigration and bureaucratic procedures, have refused help from local welfare organizations.

Labour MP from Leicester, Keith Vaz, has urged the immigration minister to intervene.

While Singh has spoken about his plight, Masah's story is less known because he has refused to speak to anyone.

Their 'home' since late last year was a stretch of pavement next to a factory's ventilation system, which blows out hot air throughout the day.

Speaking through an interpreter, Singh told the local media: "I don't want anything from the British government, I want to go home. I have no home or land in the Punjab anymore and I don't know where my mother is".

"I have been here seven or eight years. I was able to work for a while but that dried up and I became homeless. If I can go back to the Punjab, I will. If the authorities send me back, I will gladly go," Singh said.

Vaz, who took the initiative to resolve the deadlock, said: "It is important a solution is found sooner rather than later. I am seriously concerned about the welfare of Ashok and Sarbjit."

The pair had also refused all offers of help from Leicester City Council and survived on handouts from people in the Spinney Hills area.

City councillor Mary Draycott, who represents the area, said: "Hopefully, they will both finally get some clean clothes and food and someone will sit down with them and listen to what they want.

At least one of them wants to go home, but we will have to wait and see what happens to the second man".

She added: "It has been a difficult case and it has gone on for too long. The added difficulty has been their refusal to accept offers of even basic help all along."

The plight of victims of international human smuggling involving Punjab-origin illegal immigrants in UK and Europe was recently highlighted in a stark documentary titled 'Door Kinare' by noted Indian film-maker Savyasaachi Jain.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 18:58


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