Hindu family facing Afghan deportation fears Taliban

Arti Kumar with two sons
Image caption Arti Kumar says she and her sons will be persecuted for their religious beliefs

A Hindu family facing deportation to Afghanistan say they fear religious persecution by the Taliban if they are forced to return.

Arti Kumar says she fled the country in September 2007 with her two sons, Akash and Ravi, because they had been targeted by the Taliban.

Ms Kumar claimed asylum upon arrival in the UK and was moved to Middlesbrough.

She has now been told by the UK Border Agency that they do not have the right to remain here and must go back.

She says: "I'd rather die here than go back and be killed. I've got nothing to go back for or to."

Separated family

The family say they decided to leave after a Taliban guard attacked older son Ravi, then aged 17, hitting him on the head with a rifle. The assault left him brain damaged.

They sold the family textile business to raise money to pay an agent to take them out of Afghanistan. But they were told he could only take three of them.

Ms Kumar says: "I haven't heard from my husband Ram - he stayed behind. It's been three years."

She also believes her 16-year-old daughter Rekha was abducted by the Taliban. She has never been found.

"We looked for her for two years. Then my son was attacked. I'm so stressed, I don't know what to do. And now this deportation."

They believe that their lives will be in danger if they are forced to return.

Akash, 18, says: "People over there, Muslim people, no offence to anyone but they don't like Hindus. They don't want us to follow our religion they just want us to convert."


The family received a letter from the UK Border Agency last month which said that their asylum status had been removed and that they should leave their accommodation as they were no longer entitled to any benefits.

They are being supported by the Hindu Cultural Society in North Ormesby in Middlesbrough. The president, Krishan Kumar Nath says he cannot understand the UKBA's decision to deport them.

He says: "The only reason I think they are being deported is that when Arti Kumar had her initial hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Centre, she went without any legal representation and she does not speak English."

Mr Nath has now instructed new lawyers on behalf of the family, and has made another application for asylum.

The Hindu Cultural Society has also started a petition for the family.

Mr Nath added: "How can they go there when we are sending thousands of forces there to keep peace in Kabul? There is no peace, how can they send this innocent family there?"

In a statement the UKBA's deputy director for Northumbria, said: "Ms Kumar's case has been carefully considered by both the UK Border Agency and the courts and she has been found not to have a right to remain here. She has submitted further representations and these will be reviewed by the UK Border Agency prior to any removal."

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