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
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
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.