MUMBAI: Siraj Khan (37), who claims to have strayed into India as a 10-year-old boy, was deported to Pakistan on Monday through the Attari border checkpoint in Punjab after a court ruled that he had been staying here illegally.
Khan lived in India for 27 years and had settled in Antop Hill after marrying Sajida, an Indian. They have three children. After a failed battle to keep Khan here, Sajida has stayed back with the kids and works as a house help.
“A team of seven from RA Kidwai Marg police station took him to New Delhi and from there to Amritsar to deport him through the Attari border,” said a senior police officer.
Khan had told the police that he had run away from his home in Pakistan fearing his father would scold him after failing in an exam. He wanted to go to his uncle’s home in Karachi, but took the wrong train and reached Amritsar.
After some time there, he reached Gujarat, where he found shelter in a children’s remand home. When he turned 18 and was released, he came to Mumbai and started staying in the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg area in central Mumbai. There he got married to Sajida in 2005, and started working as a waiter. They had three children over time, and made a home in Antop Hill.
Khan was booked for staying illegally for the first time in 2009. In 2013, the police said when a CID team had raided Khan’s home in 2009, he had said he was originally from Post Sarkul, Tal Chetpen, District Mansehra in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). But he could not produce any document to prove it.
On January 4, 2014, he was convicted under the Foreigners Act, 1946, and Passport (Entry into India) Rules and sentenced to seven months in jail. The court later ordered that he be deported and asked the police to keep him under preventive detention. His family had said they had filed an application for Khan’s Indian citizenship and it was pending.
On October 7, 2014, Khan allegedly fled from the police station premises, and a fresh case was registered against him under the Foreigner’s Act. If convicted, he could have got up to five years’ imprisonment. “The state government later withdrew this case since it wanted to deport him as per court order,” said an officer.
Meanwhile, Sajida and her lawyer filed an application before the court, challenging the restriction over Khan’s movement, but could not undo the deportation order. The case had dragged over years since Khan had been booked in another one.
In December 2017, the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) passed an order restricting Khan’s movements within the police station premises. Finally, he was deported on Monday.