//I’m Indian, says jailed Pakistani woman

I’m Indian, says jailed Pakistani woman

January 19, 2006 (Jaipur): A Muslim woman Najma Parveen, who has been in a Jaipur jail as a Pakistani national for the past four years, now claims she is an Indian. Najma says she and her husband Shahid had gone to Pakistan in 1989 to meet an uncle.  But the couple could not return to India as their passports were burnt in an attack on their uncle’s home.

Petition filed–After hiding in Karachi for many years, they finally got back to India six years ago on fake Pakistani passports. This led to their arrest in Jaipur but Najma insists she is an Indian.
"My entire family lives in Meerut. So I do not want to be sent to Pakistan. I used to study in the Saraay School in Meerut. My marital family lives in Rahmatpura colony there and I was born in Meerut," said Najma. A petition by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties claims there is a ‘nikaahnama’ (marriage certificate) and a ration card to prove that Najma is a resident of Merrut.

Legal wrangling–However, the government says Najma is a Pakistani and was convicted under the Foreigners Act by Jaipur’s Judicial Magistrate.

"This is just a ploy to save herself. If she is not a Pakistani, why did she not make this claim four years ago when her trial was held in the lower court and she was convicted," said Brahmanand Sandhoo, advocate. The Rajasthan High Court has asked the government to furnish all details of Najma’s case and explain why she has been detained despite completing her sentence nearly two years ago.

As this legal battle rages on, it is the future of Najma’s innocent children that is now at stake.

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