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Kidnapped from Ajmer, sold in Karachi—Indian woman looks for family after 40 years

The woman doesn't remember the address of her home in India but recalls places like Howrah station, Raja Bazar, Moulali Mazar, and Atali market—all located in Kolkata.

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A 16-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped from Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan and was trafficked to Karachi in Pakistan, that was 40 years ago. Now her son who comes from Pakistan’s Khanewal is helping her find her family in India.

On 4 November, a Karachi-based social media user Waliullah Maroof, uploaded a video on his YouTube channel, sharing how the woman is now looking for her family in India. Maroof is an Imam in Karachi who uses social media to help separated woman in Pakistan to reunite with their families in neighbouring countries. He said that he has been able to help over 40 such women so far.

The woman’s 26-year-old son, shared with ThePrint her Pakistani identity card, according to which she is 52 years old and lives in Khanewal, Pakistan. However, her age details are based on a rough idea that she gave to her Pakistani family as she didn’t recall anything except the names of her Indian family members and some places in India.

Kidnapped from Ajmer Sharif

“My mother told us that somebody at the Ajmer Sharif dargah called her saying that her father is calling her. She was then kidnapped and taken to Karachi,” said her son.

She remembers names of her parents Muhammad Shareef and Rashida Khatun, grandfather Shiekh Muhammad Ameer, brothers Muhammad Feroz, Muhammad Siraj, Muhammad Sheraz, Shamsuddin, and Qamaruddin, sister Farida Khatun, and uncles Muhammad Aslam and Muhammad Kareem, her son added.

The woman does not remember the address of her home but recalls places like Howrah station, Raja Bazar, Moulali Mazar, and Atali market—all located in Kolkata, West Bengal. She also remembers living in a Muslim locality and has even mentioned Delhi to her son. Her son said that she doesn’t remember her mother tongue and speaks Punjabi, which is spoken in Khanewal region. The woman remembers that her father used to work in a movie hall named Gem Cinema and that her family had a car.

“She can read short surahs and Islamic phrases,” said her son.


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Life in Pakistan

The woman’s life in Pakistan, after she was allegedly trafficked, has been one of poverty, according to her son. He added that her mother was first kept with other women trafficked women in Karachi for initial few months before she was sold to a man named Muhammad Sultan. The man married her and they had eight children, two of whom died. The woman now has three daughters and three sons.

“My mother was sold to my father who married her in 1981 perhaps. My father used to work as a labourer and he passed away last year. We are six brothers and sisters. My mother has been telling us stories about how she was kidnapped and trafficked to Pakistan ever since we were children,” said her second eldest son, talking to ThePrint from Khanewal over the phone.

Her son did not know how to find his mother’s family in India but he said that his family did “write a letter through the post to the Indian government some 10 years back but did not receive any response.” He then stumbled upon the Facebook account of Waliullah Maroof, who had helped sixty-five-year-old Karachi-based Hamida Banu speak to her daughter Yasmin using social media.

“I appeal to the Indian government to help my mother meet her family,” said Shahrukh adding that it is the first time that he has tried social media to find her separated family in India. He contacted Waliullah Maroof on Facebook and shared his story after which he uploaded a video on YouTube making an appeal to the users to help reunite the woman with her family in India.

Maroof said that they have not received any helpful information about the woman’s home and family in India.

(Edited by Ratan Priya)

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