Somali kids in Thanjai get Madras High Court relief

Madurai: Two Somali children, who by a strange twist of fate have been growing up in Tamil Nadu since 2008 learning Tamil and imbibing local culture but were suddenly asked to leave the country within 15 days, were given interim relief by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court here on Wednesday.


The story of two children Fatima Abdul Salam Hashi (19) and Mustafa Abdul Salam Hashi (15) now studying Electronics Engineering in Sastra University engineering college and class ten in Ponnaiah Ramajeyam School (CBSE) at Kumbakonam respectively, runs like a movie script. They were brought to Thanjavur in 2008 by Hameed Ibrahim.

Hameed Ibrahim from Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district, who went to Abu Dhabi to work as security personnel, had met a Somalia couple, Abdul Salam Hashi and Hodan Jama Abdi and became friends with them.

After Abdul Salam Hashi abandoned his wife and the two children and left for Somalia, the woman who worked as nurse in a private hospital in Abu Dhabi, requested Hameed to take care of her children.

Since Hameed Ibrahim and his wife Yasmin who were living in Kumbakonam, did not have children, he brought the two Somalia kids to India on tourist visa in 2008. The age of Fatima and Mustafa were 11 and 7 respectively, when they reached India, said advocate G Prabhu Rajadurai who appeared for petitioner Yasmin in the case.

Hameed Ibrahim had registered the name of the kids at Foreigners Registration Office, Thanjavur, and also extended their tourist visa every year as the children were growing under the custody of the couple. The biological mother, Hodan Jana Abdi also visited the children every year, said the counsel.

Later, in November Hameed Ibrahim applied for the extension of tourist visa for the children, but a month later he passed away with nobody left to follow up the visa extension process as Yasmin was unlettered and not aware of the procedures.

As the officials from the Foreigners Registration Office informed Yasmin on July 25 this year to pack the children out of the country within 15 days, she approached the Madras High Court bench seeking to direct the authorities to allow the children to stay in the country at least until they completed graduation and higher secondary examination.

When the case came up for hearing on Wednesday, Justice R. Mahadevan asked if the children were involved in any criminal cases. When the public prosecutor replied in the negative, he ordered status quo in the case until August 24. The court also directed the Thanjavur collector and superintendent of police (SP) and the Foreigners Registration Office to file their responses.

This article was originally published in the Deccan Chronical


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