After five days behind bars, Pakistani woman Seema Ghulam Haider and Greater Noida local Sachin Meena stepped out of the Luksar Jail in Gautam Budh Nagar at 8.30 am on a rainy Saturday and hugged each other. Haider arrived with her four children, while Meena’s older brother came in a Santro car to pick them up. The two went to Rabupura village’s Meena Thakuran colony, where Sachin’s father, Netrapal Singh, had arrived a day earlier after being released on bail from jail.
On July 4, the Gautam Budh Nagar police arrested Haider for illegally entering India without a visa via Nepal with her four children — all aged below seven years – while Meena and his father were arrested for sheltering the illegal immigrants.
Haider, Meena, her four children, and Meena’s father, mother and five siblings arrived home at 10am.
Haider told HT that Meena had been her husband since March of this year when the two married at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
“I can’t live without Sachin, and because he is my husband, I’ve accepted his religion and culture as my own and changed the names of my four children, who call Sachin ‘Baba’. Sachin’s parents have also accepted me, and I have adopted all their cultural practices and will continue to live with them,” said 27-year-old Seema.
Talking about how they fell in love, Haider said that they began talking to each other in July 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I used to talk to many strangers online while playing PubG because I kept the mic on. That’s how I met Sachin, and we started chatting on the chatbox. We used to play for hours on end, even four hours and never stopped talking. After about four months, we exchanged phone numbers and began communicating via voice and video. We confessed our love for each other by January 2021,” said Haider.
According to the couple, they were inspired by the film Gadar, whose plot revolves around a cross-border love story between an Indian man and a Pakistani woman.
Haider and Meena were looking forward to meeting each other. Haider said that in February, she applied for an Indian visa but was denied, prompting her to enter the country illegally.
“I applied for an Indian visa online from Pakistan through a travel agent. Among the documents required was a gazetted officer’s signature on an invitation from an Indian national. While Sachin had submitted copies of his Aadhaar card for the invitation, we could not get a gazetted officer’s signature,” said Haider.
Meena said that it was at this point that the couple decided to meet in Nepal in March.
“We met in Nepal and booked a hotel where we stayed for seven days. Here, we watched Gadar on mobile and spent time with each other. We then decided to get married,” said the 21-year-old, who works at a department store in the village, adding, “If Seema returns to Pakistan, she will undoubtedly be killed.”
Haider added, “In our culture in Pakistan, women are not even allowed to use a phone, let alone play games and talk to other men.”
Meena’s parents said they wholeheartedly accept Haider. In contrast to police officers, Meena’s father said he did not know about his son’s relationship with Haider. “I only found out when the police knocked on our door on June 30. I had no idea Sachin had rented a flat in our village and that Seema was living there with four children,” said Singh, who operates a plant nursery in Kasna village.
Haider is said to have entered India illegally through Nepal on May 11 and took a bus to Greater Noida.
“I flew from Karachi to Sharjah in UAE, then to Nepal on a connecting flight. In Nepal, I took a van to Pokhara and then a private bus to Delhi. So far, no one questioned me. When I boarded the bus to Delhi, the conductor inquired about my name and address, and I replied that my name was Seema and my husband’s name was Sachin Meena, and we lived in Rabupura. I named my children Raj, Priyanka, Pari, and Munni,” said Haider.
Haider then boarded another bus from Delhi’s Kashmere Gate ISBT to Jewar, where she alighted at the Faleda intersection in Rabupura, where Meena awaited her.
Since May 13, Haider and her four children had been living with Meena in a room he rented for ₹2,500 a month in Ambedkar Nagar colony, Rabupura, at least a kilometre away from his father’s home in Meena Thakurain colony.
To get married legally, the couple approached an advocate in Bulandshahr on June 29, seeking legal advice. However, the advocate alerted the police after he saw Haider’s Pakistani passport.
Later on June 30, Haider and Meena, who were trying to flee the district by taking a bus to Palwal, were apprehended by the police in Ballabgarh. The four children accompanied the duo.
Meanwhile, SM Khan, deputy commissioner of police in Greater Noida, said the charges against the three suspects were bailable. “The case will now go to trial, and the judge will render a verdict. A charge sheet will be filed soon,” he said.
According to the couple’s lawyer, Hamant Krishna Parasher, they must sign an undertaking at the Rabupura police station daily to prove they are in town. “According to the bail conditions, the three must report to the local police station daily and sign in. As a result, they are not permitted to leave the town under the law,” he said.
Source: Hindustan Times