In police net, Goa’s only alien awaits deportation

December 19th, 2008 - 10:01 am ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 19 (IANS) Ali Khan, 25, sits in a corner of the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) inside the Goa police headquarters here almost as if it were home. The state’s only officially declared alien - he is a Bangladeshi - has been there for days awaiting deportation.Last year Khan was jailed for seven months for staying illegally in India. After his release, he was caught again early this month, as police raided illegal tenements following the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai.

The authorities have now written to the home and external affairs ministries in the central government seeking deportation of the Bangladeshi. While they await a response, Ali has become the only person in Goa to be given the tag of an alien.

Back in 2001, Ali was one of the many thousands of Bangladeshis who were smuggled into West Bengal from Satkhira, a district in southwestern Bangladesh. “I came hoping for a job in Kolkata. I had no family. I had no parents. I wanted work,” Khan told IANS at the police headquarters here.

After scrounging around for a year, working in a small hotel in Kolkata’s twin city Howrah, Khan made the big career move and boarded the general compartment of the Kolkata-Mumbai Gitanjali Express train in 2002. He landed in India’s financial capital.

“I was a waiter first,” Khan said of his experiences in Mumbai. “Then I learnt to cook. Within a few days a colleague working in a bar told me about Goa. That’s when I decided to come here.

“I started working at places like Kamat Hotel, Sher-e-Punjab (restaurant) in Panaji and another Udupi hotel, before I shifted to Hotel Aatish, in Farmagudi, Ponda. I was an all-rounder there, doing everything from cooking to everything else.”

Hotel Aatish is run by Aatish Raikar, a close confidant of Goa’s Home Minister Ravi Naik. That’s where Khan’s travails began.

“I was arrested in 2007 when people came to know that I was from Bangladesh. I had told them that I was from West Bengal to ensure I didn’t lose my job.”

Khan now claims that Raikar owes him Rs.12,000 in back wages but is refusing to pay him. “He knows I cannot do anything. I spoke to him so many times over the phone, but he says ‘I will not pay you the money’,” he told IANS. Khan has complained to FRO officials too.

Raikar denied Khan’s claim. “I gave Ali Khan a job because he said he needed it,” the hotel owner told IANS. “I have paid him Rs.6,000 after the FRO called me. I just want him to take the money and head back to Bangladesh where he came from.”

That is what the authorities here want too. But while they await the response of the central government, they have to look after the alien.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Rina Torcato told IANS: “The Goa police are taking care of him now, as he has already served the sentence for staying in the country illegally.”

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