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Diaspora

Community fights deportation of UK's elderly Sikh woman to India

IANS | November 26, 2023 11:53 AM

LONDON: Community campaigners have been rallying behind an elderly Sikh woman who faces deportation to India, despite living in the UK for 14 years.

Gurmit Kaur, 78, who has lived in Smethwick ever since she came there to attend a wedding in 2009, has no family to return to in Punjab, the BBC reported.

A popular volunteer in the area, Kaur is known locally as a "kind auntie" by the people of the town who have adopted her.

Her appeal for indefinite leave to remain in the country was rejected despite an online petition with more than 65, 000 signatures calling for her to stay.

The petition, 'We are all Gurmit Kaur', which was launched in 2020, said that Kaur "is an asset and a kind auntie to Smethwick. We want her to stay here. Smethwick is home!"

"Gurmit is a very kind woman, even though she has nothing she is still generous and will always give what she can, when she can. Most of her days are spent volunteering at the local Gurdwara, " the petition read.

Campaigners told the BBC that they are fighting to keep her in the UK on the grounds that she has no friends or family to look after her in Punjab.

The UK Home Office has countered the argument saying that Kaur was still in contact with people in her home village and would be able to readjust to life in India.

Kaur appealed against the Home Office ruling last month, but this was rejected by the courts.

"I don't know what to do, I feel helpless, I don't know where to turn or what to do, " Kaur had said.

Salman Mirza, an immigration advisor who has been representing Kaur told BBC: "She will probably die invisible."

]"She has a derelict house in the village, with no roof and would have to find heating, food and resources in a village she hasn't been to in years. It's like water torture, it's like a slow death, she's never had the right to work and provide for herself, " Mirza said.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said it can not comment on individual cases but, "all applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and on the basis of the evidence provided."

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