South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Bhopal: Had Azhar Ali fallen into the hands of some Hindi filmmaker in his pursuit of betrayed love, his ordeal might have spawned an international film themed around cross-border romance involving India, Pakistan, Nepal and Malaysia.

Unfortunately for him, he fell into the hands of Chhindwara district police officials. For six months now, Ali has been languishing in the Chhindwara district jail.

Azhar Ali (27), a Pakistani citizen, had come to India in September last year to find the woman he claimed to have loved and married — Ratna Soni, a resident of Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. According to Ali, who is a resident of Cheena village near Lahore in Pakistan, he met Ratna in Malaysia where she had come with her troupe to perform.

The two fell in love and got married in May last year in Nepal, claims Ali. Later, Ratna reportedly took Rs.1 lakh from him and came to India without his knowledge. Later she asked him to come to India and take her back with him. He came under the police scanner after he was beaten up by members of Ratna’s troupe during a performance when he tried to meet her. Ali has been booked under provisions of the Foreigners Act for illegally crossing over into Indian territory; under the Passport Act; under sections 467 and 478 of the IPC for allegedly carrying a forged Nepalese passport; and tampering with official documents.

“There definitely has been no suspicion of an act of espionage on Ali’s part but he is an alien and that too from an enemy nation [Pakistan] and so it certainly is cause for alarm,” Chhindwara S.P. Ashish told The Hindu over phone.

Over the last six months two lawyers have given up on Ali’s case due to its sensitive nature. The last was a Muslim lawyer Mohsin, who pulled out of the case citing “obvious difficulties.” Ali’s current lawyer Shiv Kumar Sahare, who said the case has now gone again to the lower court, expressed concern at the way investigations have been carried.

“Ali’s nationality has still not been confirmed,” said Sahare. “Whether he is a Pakistani or Nepali is still not clear and the police should confirm with the Pakistan and Nepal embassy about this,” he said.

The police department, according to Dr. Ashish, has been in correspondence with the Nepal embassy. “We need to confirm whether his passport was actually a forged one,” said the SP.

According to sources, while getting Ali out on bail is possible, the problem is nobody wants to risk being a guarantor for the bail application of a Pakistani.

Source: The Hindu – 31.05.2010

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