India-Bangladesh couple seeks intervention to stay united

New Delhi, Nov 20 ( It’s nothing short of a Bollywood love story. India’s Zubair Khan and Bangladesh’s Shazia Zarin met on Facebook, fell in love, she fled from home, they got married and are expecting a child. Now the girl’s millionaire businessman father is seeking her deportation, and the desperate couple is pleading with President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene.

“We met on Facebook three years ago and slowly our romance started. I went to Dhaka four times to meet her. I met her and her family. Everyone was happy with me, her father showed my photographs to their relatives and friends declaring that I am the chosen one. Suddenly something went wrong, I don’t know what, and her father has turned against us,” the 27-year-old Zubair told Inditop here.

The 23-year-old woman came from Bangladesh Feb 12 this year against the wishes of her family and married Zubair the next day, according to the Indian’s version. Her father, Abdus Sabur Khan, then approached the Indian high commission in Dhaka and sought her deportation.

Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping against Zubair at the Shakarpur police station in east Delhi. The couple filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court alleging they were being harassed by the police and sought protection.

“From March to May this year, the police harassed my family a lot. They would take away anybody from the family for questioning. They registered a case of kidnapping against me. Only the high court gave us relief,” added the young man.

On July 21, the high court ruled that no coercive steps should be taken against the couple. The court Sep 10 reiterated that the couple should not be harassed. The police have denied charges of harassment.

In between, the girl’s father filed a petition in the Delhi High Court asking the government to deport Shazia to Bangladesh as she entered India illegally. He said her marriage with Zubair was invalid as she was already married in Bangladesh.

Said Shams Tabrez, the advocate for the father: “She is a foreign national and is living in India illegally. She came to India on a forged passport and visa. She should be deported.

“She had got married in 2006 and papers related to that have been submitted to the high curt. Her parents are not threatening them. Instead it is the boy who has forcibly kept the girl here,” he added.

But Zubair insisted that his wife flew into India on a valid passport. He admitted that her one-month Indian visa was extended once for one more month. Since then, she has been here without a visa.

A graduate from Delhi University, Zubair described her father as “very influential in Bangladesh”. His wife, he added, was also a graduate from a college in Dhaka.

According to him, Shazia is seven months pregnant. The couple is praying for the safe birth of their child.

“Her family is politically active. Her father’s intention is to stop the birth of the child,” Zubair alleged.

“I will not let this happen. I will do anything to save my wife and my child. I don’t care for my life,” he said.

The desperate couple has written to President Patil, Manmohan Singh, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women seeking permission for Shazia to stay on in India as she is in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

Zubair was earlier employed with a real estate firm in Dubai. Since February he is jobless. His father was in real estate business and has now stopped working because of poor health.

How is Zubair managing himself? “I am using up my savings,” he said.