This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Leicester's Hindus asked to help family stay in Britain
Members of Leicester’s Hindu community are supporting an Afghan family’s battle to stay in this country.
Arti Kumar and her two sons, Akash and Ravi, fled the war-ravaged country in September, 2007 after being targeted by the Taliban.
The Hindu family claimed asylum in Britain but have now been told they face being deported back to Afghanistan.
A meeting is being held in Leicester tonight to raise awareness of the family’s plight.
Mukesh Naker, spokesman for the Leicester-based British Hindu Voice, said: “We are very surprised at how the Government has treated this family because all religions – Sikh, Hindu and Christian – face persecution in Afghanistan.
“We want people in Leicester to sign a national petition opposing the family’s deportation, and we also need to raise money to help pay the family’s legal challenge.”
The Kumars say their lives in Afghanistan were torn apart when 16-year-old daughter Rekha was abducted by Islamic extremists and her kidnappers brutally assaulted eldest son Ravi, who was left with brain damage and behavioural difficulties.
Arti, 42, had to leave her husband Ram behind. She has not heard from him since.
Arti, Akash, 18, and Ravi, 21, who are living in Middlesbrough, had their asylum status withdrawn following a review by the authorities.
The British Hindu Voice’s meeting takes place at the Shree Wanza Community Hall, Pasture Lane, Leicester, tonight at 7.30pm. It will be attended by the Baroness Sandip Verma, of Leicester.