A family of six from Karachi had t send the night on footpath after no hotel or lodge was willing to give them rooms. Their efforts to return to their relatives’ house in Jodhpur too failed.
The family had arrived in India last week and had wit their in Jodhpur. They had arrived in Mumbai, with two things on their agenda—a visit to Haji Ali Dargah and to meet actor Salman Khan.
“After staying with our relatives in Jodhpur, we wanted to visit Haji Ali Dargah for ziyarat (prayers) and so arrived in Mumbai on 14 October. We went straight to the shrine and returned after prayers,” said Noor Banu, who had come to India with her brother Inayat Ali, 55, nephew Shakeel Ahmed, two other women and a seven-year-old boy.
After a visit to Haji Ali Dargah, the family tried to find accommodation. That’s when their trauma started. “Till evening I had visited a dozen lodges, but everyone refused to take us in as we are Pakistanis,” said Shakeel Ahmed, bitterly. “What is their problem when the Indian government has given us valid visas?” he asked.
The family went to the Mumbai Central Railway station to take a train to return to Jodhpur, but were stopped by the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
The RPF personnel told the family that there was no train for Jodhpur and that they would have to come the next day.
So, the Pakistani family came out of the railway station and took the only option open to them—spend the night on a footpath.