The Supreme Court of India (SC) on Tuesday heard the case pertaining to the release of a woman from Assam's Nagaon along with her son from a jail in Pakistan and their safe repatriation back to India.
A three-judge bench of the apex court today heard the case of 36-year-old Wahida Begum, a resident of Assam’s Nagaon district and her son, who went missing in November last year and later turned up in jail in Pakistan.
After the hearing case of Nagaon's Wahida Begum, the SC bench issued a notification to the home ministry and the foreign ministry. Moreover, the court posted the matter for a further hearing on February 28.
Meanwhile, the mother of Wahida Begum, who has been waging a lone war for her daughter’s safe release and had earlier moved the Delhi High Court seeking her repatriation, leveled grave allegations against Nagaon BJP MLA Rupak Sharma of protecting those involved in the matter.
Naming the accused in the matter, Wahida Begum’s mother Ajitha Khatun said, “Nagaon MLA Rupak Sharma has been giving protection to the accused Prasenjit Dutta and Ranjit Dutta. He is also protecting two others named Kabuli Khan and Selim Khan in the matter.”
Furthermore, Ajitha Khatun also alleged the Nagaon BJP MLA of being involved in financial malpractices. She said that MLA Rupak Sharma acquired Khan Complex in Nagaon which is worth around Rs 4 crores for only Rs 60 lakhs.
Having leveled the allegations, Khatun went on to beg the Assam Chief Minister for justice for her daughter and grandson.
It may be noted that Nagaon Police in Assam had on January 6 informed about Wahida Begum’s case wherein having gone missing in November last year, she had been traced to a jail in Pakistan. She had been arrested on charges of illegally entering the country, the Nagaon Police said.
According to Nagaon Police superintendent Leena Doley, Wahida Begum had allegedly been duped and taken to Saudi Arabia at first on the pretext of marriage using forged documents. From there, she had been taken to Pakistan. Doley said that the woman from Nagaon had been widowed two years ago and had sold off all her property and left Nagaon in November with a man who had promised to marry her.
The police came to know about her whereabouts in Pakistan after the woman’s mother in Nagaon received a letter from law firm in Pakistan that informed her about her daughter and grandson’s arrest and that they had been lodged in the district jail of Quetta in Pakistan’s Baluchistan.
The mother of Wahida Begum then lodged a police complaint after receiving a phone call from her daughter confirming her situation. Nagaon SP Doley said, “The woman was able to make calls to her mother over social media platforms using a phone given to her by someone from the jail staff. She told her mother she was duped with the promise of marriage and taken to Saudi Arabia using fake documents and from there to Pakistan.”
“It appears she and her son along with the man, who took her from Nagaon to Saudi Arabia, were arrested in Pakistan when they tried to enter the country using fake documents,” the Nagaon SP further said.
The Nagaon Police in Assam also had a talk to the woman but the details of how she arrived in Pakistan were sketchy, Doley mentioned. She said, “It appears she and her son along with the man, who took her from Nagaon to Saudi Arabia, were arrested in Pakistan when they tried to enter the country using fake documents.”
The woman and her son were kept in separate jail wards, while another man, suspected to be an Afghan national who had taken them to Saudi Arabia and then to Pakistan, had also been lodged in the same jail but in a separate ward. “The woman and her son are stated to be in good condition and not tortured,” said the Nagaon SP.
Nagaon Police had taken up the matter with higher authorities including in New Delhi and were trying to bring back the woman and her son safely, informed SP Doley.
The woman’s mother filed a petition in the Delhi high court and also wrote to President Droupadi Murmu seeking the repatriation of her daughter and grandson.
However, the matter was dismissed by the Delhi high court stating that it was not within its jurisdiction and asked Nagaon Police to take up the matter with Gauhati high court.
The mother of the woman said that she had come to know of her daughter’s disappearance on December 12 when she had gone to visit her. “I was told by her neighbours that she sold off her property and was taken away by three persons. I approached the Nagaon police after that and lodged a case of kidnapping,” she said.
The woman could have been kidnapped due to some land-related issues or because of the amount of money she received after selling her property in Nagaon, her mother further alleged.