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UK: Elderly Indian woman facing deportation to Punjab receives widespread community support

The 78-year-old Gurmit Kaur first arrived in the UK in 2009 and stayed with her son as she was unable to afford a passage back home. Now, she is estranged from her children and relies on the support of her community.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee London Published on: November 27, 2023 16:51 IST
The 78-year-old Gurmit Kaur, who is facing deportation from
Image Source : ANI The 78-year-old Gurmit Kaur, who is facing deportation from Smethwick, England.

Gurmit Kaur, an elderly Indian woman facing deportation from England to Punjab is receiving widespread community support in England as thousands of people are fighting so that she can stay in the country. An online petition for the 78-year-old woman has garnered over 65,000 signatures.

Kaur's case first came to light when she was asked to leave voluntarily or face deportation years after she came to 2009 for a wedding and has remained in Smethwick ever since. The 'We Are All Gurmit Kaur' campaign was launched in 2020 appealing against her deportation.

"Gurmit Kaur has no family to turn to in the UK and no family to return to in Punjab, so the local Sikh community of Smethwick has adopted her. Gurmit applied to stay but has been refused even though she has no family to return to in Punjab, India. 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," reads the online petition.

The petition also said that Kaur did not have any money to buy her passage back to India, so she decided to stay with her son. Now, her husband has passed away and she is estranged from the children, causing her to be reliant on the kindness of the community. "Gurmit is an asset and a kind auntie to Smethwick. We want her to stay here. Smethwick is home!" the petition adds.

However, the UK Home Office has maintained that Kaur was still in contact with people in her home village in Punjab and would be able to re-adjust to life there.

"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 11 years. It's like water torture, it's like a slow death, she's never had the right to work and provide for herself," said Salman Mirza, an immigration advisor for the Brushstroke Community Project who started the petition.

Meanwhile, a Home Office spokesperson said that while it cannot comment on individual cases, "all applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and on the basis of the evidence provided".

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | UK: Drug dealer sentenced to over four years in prison after death of Indian-origin student

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