London’s abandoned Sikh boy now has family trouble brewing

January 7th, 2009 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Tanda (Punjab), Jan 7 (IANS) A Sikh boy found abandoned in London last year is headed for family trouble in India even before he sets foot on home soil to be reunited with relatives.As if last year’s drama of 11-year-old Gurinderjit Singh’s mysterious appearance outside a clinic in the Asian-dominated Southall area was not enough, his maternal family has now demanded the boy’s custody.

A London court had recently decreed that the boy be sent back to his paternal family in a village near this town in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district, 180 km from Chandigarh, after his DNA samples matched with his paternal uncle Kuldeep Singh.

The boy is believed to have been abandoned by his mother, who entered Britain illegally through France. The boy’s father, who himself is an illegal immigrant in a European country, also could not come forward to claim his son as he risked deportation.

But just before the boy is headed for home to be reunited with relatives, his maternal family has threatened to take legal recourse to seek his custody.

“We want his custody. We had spent money to send his father abroad. Our daughter is also missing. His (the boy’s) sister also lives with us. We will take legal help to get his custody,” Mohinder Singh, the abandoned boy’s maternal grandfather, told IANS at his home in Jalalabad village in Hoshiarpur district.

Gurinderjit’s 13-year-old sister, Navjit Kaur, is also waiting to meet up with her brother.

“I have been missing him for so long. I want to be united with him now,” she said.

But his paternal uncle, Kuldeep Singh, disputed the claim of the maternal family.

“He is being sent to us under court orders from London. No one else has any claim on him. We have proceeded legally. Where was this family when the boy was found abandoned last year. We sent DNA samples from here to get him back. A divorce case of his father and mother is already on. We will not let anyone take him,” Kuldeep Singh told IANS.

“We are overjoyed with this news of his return. We are eagerly waiting for him to return and his ordeal to end,” he said.

Several families, including those from Punjab and Bihar, had laid claim over the boy after he was found abandoned in London’s Asian-dominated Southall area last year.

Clearly a case of rampant illegal trafficking from Punjab, the boy had no idea how he landed in London and could converse only in Punjabi in the English-speaking country. Investigations into his case in London had revealed that he was abandoned by his mother after she illegally came to Britain from France.

The boy’s ordeal seems to be headed for a conclusion after the latest decree by the London court to send him back to his paternal family. The confirmation of the DNA tests was conveyed to Hoshiarpur’s Lok Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee through an official communication.

“Our High Commission at London has informed that as per DNA report of October 27, 2008, Kuldeep Singh has been identified as the paternal uncle of Gurinderjit Singh, the child - presently under interim care of Ealing Council, London - has desired to return to India to stay with his paternal uncle. A local court has consented that the council should make plans for the child’s future and send him back to India,” the minister wrote to the MP.

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