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SIGNS OF THE TIMES
State in the role of tyrannizing nanny
By Humra Quraishi
Just as I'd begun writing this week's column focusing on the brutal murder of Delhi's Ankit Saxena - a young man murdered by the parents of the Muslim girl he loved - I realized that we are not the only country where young innocents are hacked in full public view. Of course, different countries adopt their very own special ways of hacking innocence if not innocents.

We, in India, surviving in the midst of the communal hatred, are busy killing love and lovers. Even married couples are not spared. The most glaring example is that of Kerala's Hadiya - whose parents have turned killers of her marriage!

In European countries, the State is busy snatching children from their biological parents. One case after another of children forcibly removed from the care of their parents and taken under the State's so called protective care!

In fact, this noon just as I'd started off writing this column, Delhi's well- known lawyer- activist manning 'Save Your Children', Suranya Aiyar, got in touch, with details of a family of Indian origin (Muslims from Tamil Nadu) whose two children have been forcibly taken away from them, by the State in the UK.

And as I went through the details to this hapless Indian family I sat absolutely shocked. The father - Mohammad Y, mother - Yasmin Saheeta Banu Amakeder, of the two children, have not been allowed to meet their children- Mahroos Ahmad Mohammad Y (born 10 April 2009) and Mahfooza Mohammad Y (born 26 March 2011).

The children were snatched in 2015 and as it gets apparent in these papers the UK courts (in Birmingham) have refused to let these children travel to India or Singapore where they have close relatives who are willing to look after them and take care of them.

This brings me to ask - why should the UK government 'murder' the very childhood of these two children - Mahroos and Mahfooza Mohammad Y? Why can't these children be sent back to their country to be looked after by their aunts and uncles? Why should these children be sent for adoption in a foreign land, the UK, when they have parents and close relatives? Why shouldn't we demand an immediate halt of this barbaric trend in the so called developed countries - where children are snatched from their biological parents and placed here and there, on any given excuse!

In this particular case, here are the details. I am quoting lawyer Suranya Aiyar - "They are Muslims of Tamil origin. They entered the UK and lived there for 10 years without proper papers. Everything was fine until 2013 when the father lost his job and applied to the Local Authority for financial assistance. The father and Local Authority got in a dispute over what if any benefits he was entitled to which kept escalating ending with the Local Authority storming the parents' home and taking the children away kicking and screaming. The court, and this is typical of UK care orders, records that the parents loved their children, that there was no abuse or neglect but still ordering the children to be permanently cut off from their family and put for adoption to strangers because the parents were hostile to the Local Authority! While all this was going on the mother was pregnant with her third child, she fled to Singapore as she was afraid this baby would also be taken. Very often in the UK if there are care proceedings regarding one child, even the unborn baby is targeted for removal. Social workers come to the hospital minutes after the baby is delivered and remove it. The situation is so bad that many pregnant mothers flee the UK when Social Services come knocking on the door. A British philanthropist called Ian Josephs even helps such women flee ….But the poor mother in this case fleeing to Singapore was deemed to be "abandoning" her other children by the UK court and was used as another excuse for not returning the two children who had been taken. The children are just 7 (boy) and 5 (girl) years old. From the day they were taken in mid-2015 they were not allowed to see their parents even once. The Local Authority kept insisting that the parents sign some papers that they wouldn't discuss the case with the children or talk about the possibility of them coming home to "show any emotions". Parents who don't know any English and were scared that if they signed anything the kids would be taken away for good, refused to sign and this was taken as an excuse not to let them even see the kids. All we are asking for at this point is let the kids come back to their uncle in Tamil Nadu. He and his wife are willing to care for them. The children have done no wrong and should not be punished even if the father was wrong to try and stay on in the UK without proper papers. When we have had similar cases with the US, the children have been sent back to relatives in India - why should a foreign government pay thousands of dollars keeping children in state care when they have relatives in their native place willing to care for them. But the UK is particularly unreasonable about releasing children. Every year thousands of foreign children at are snatched form their parents in the UK and not returned even when their grandparents or other relatives plead for this. There are for eg over 10,000 Slovak children in forced state care in the UK. So many Latvian children were taken that the Latvian Parliament passed a law for securing the return of children with Latvian families. Now the UK authorities have to notify the Latvian consulate whenever a Latvian child is taken into care. The Indian government should have a similar arrangement with the UK authorities. Also UK should not punish illegal immigrants by snatching their children. This is inhumane. The sensible thing would have been to deport the family to India or Singapore (where they also have relatives) as they had been pleading all this time."

This reality of the so called developed world is nauseating, if not frightening.It exposes the layers of cruelty under the heap of façades. Its about time the Indian government together with the Tamil Nadu government demand the return of this hapless family.

We, as a collective lot, ought to campaign for the safe return of these children and their parents. We want Mahroos Ahmad Mohammad Y and his sister Mahfooza Mohammad Y and their parents to be sent back home, to Tamil Nadu.

*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).


News Updated at : Thursday, February 8, 2018
 
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