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Full Successor Rights for Daughters, Ban Polygamy Urges Bangladesh Attorney General

New Age Islam News Bureau

24 Jun 2013 

Photo: Bahrain Court Confirms Policewoman's Acquittal, REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


 Maldives facing widespread child prostitution, sexual abuse: clinical psychologist

 Agony, Anger, Anguish at Domestic Helpers’ Shelters in Riyadh and Jeddah

 Muslim Women Marriage Age: CPI (M) Sees Contempt of House

 Bahrain Court Confirms Policewoman's Acquittal

 Female Scholar Conducts Research on Declining Sex Ratio among Muslims in Jammu

 Her Last Wish: To Go Back To Home Country, India

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Full Successor Rights for Daughters, Ban Polygamy Urges Bangladesh Attorney General

22 June 2013

DHAKA – In a controversial view to many Muslims, Bangladesh's attorney general has called for changing laws to allow equal inheritance rights for women and men and ban polygamy.

"If a family does not have a male child, the female child should be treated as one for succession," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam was quoted by Bangladesh 24 website as saying on Saturday, June 22.

“Even if there is no male child, it has to be assumed there is one," he added during a discussion on suggested amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC).

Under the current law, Muslim girls inherit half of her father’s property if she has no brothers.

The rest goes to her uncles, aunts and grandparents, according to Islamic Shari`ah.

The attorney general opined that the amendment would benefit thousands of families and female children.

Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.

The country has a secular legal system but in matters related to inheritance and marriage Muslims follow Shari’ah.

The secular notions of the country were first enshrined in the 1972 constitution drafted under the leadership of the country's founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Islam, as a divine religion, sets down rules that strike a balance between men's responsibilities and women's rights.

Islam gives the girl half of her brother's share in inheritance because Islamic Law doesn't oblige her to spend any money on anybody other than herself.

On the other hand, Muslim man, who is usually the bread-winner of the family, is obliged to spend on his wife, his children, his brothers, his sisters, and his mother and father.

No Polygamy

Adding to the controversy, the attorney general suggested amendments to ban Muslim men from getting a second wife.

"Muslim men will have to be denied a second marriage because this is cause for tears for so many women," Alam said.

"During my last four and half years as Attorney General, I have seen so many women ruined as their husbands went for a second marriage."

Islam sees polygamy as a realistic answer to some social woes like adulterous affairs and lamentable living conditions of a widow or a divorced woman.

A Muslim man who seeks a second or a third wife should, however, make sure that he would treat them all on an equal footing, even in terms of compassion.

The Noble Qur'an says that though polygamy is lawful it is very hard for a man to guarantee such fairness.



Maldives facing widespread child prostitution, sexual abuse: clinical psychologist

By Leah Malone | June 23rd, 2013

 Ahmed Naish

Child prostitution in Laamu Atoll has become so “common” the underage victims of such crimes consider it “normal”, a private clinical psychologist has revealed to Minivan News.

The practice, believed by multiple sources interviewed by Minivan News to be prevalent across the Maldives, ranges from male benefactors grooming children with ‘gifts’ to parents actively selling the sexual services of their children – some as young as 12.

Acknowledgement of “systemic” child sexual abuse in the Maldives, particularly prostitution, remains highly taboo, with few government institutions willing to confront the problem.

Minister of Gender, Family and Human Rights Azima Shukoor made the first official acknowledgement of the practice in a statement to mark Children’s Day on May 10.

“The abuse of children is on the rise. Children being used as sex workers, where the children are sent to places as a means to pleasure people and to gain an income from such a trade. This is being practiced in the Maldives today. Both boys and girls are being used in this trade,” she stated.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Maldives Institute for Psychological Services, Training & Research (MIPSTAR), Dr Aishath Ali Naaz, conducts psychological profiling of sexual abuse victims, as well as preventative awareness workshops, and recently completed a study focusing on Laamu Atoll.

She explained that child prostitution has become so common among minors that it is considered a normal activity, with victims even boasting about their sexual exploits at school.

“When many people do something it’s not [considered] wrong anymore. In some atolls I’ve seen this, especially in Laamu Atoll. It’s not accepted by the whole population but [it is] among the young people,” she told Minivan News.

“The children say in class ‘So you do it, you do it too, and so on, so what’s the big deal?’” Dr Naaz explained. “Some children have accepted this as something normal and as a way of life.”

Child prostitution is considered a type of sexual abuse because victims are minors under 18 years-old.

“It’s not just incest, which is happening, because in my practice I have come across cases of close relatives [who] have pushed children into prostitution,” Dr Naaz said. “Children as young as 12 or 13 years-old have been forced to partake in sexual activities,” explained Dr Naaz.

“This is sexual abuse, but people are not aware that there is sometimes monetary gain for somebody,” she added.

“Child prostitution is happening in a very subtle way. Most of the time there is an adult who is pushing the child; it may be a parent or a relative who is pimping the child,” said Dr Naaz.

Hidden in plain sight

Two cases of child prostitution in Laamu Atoll have been reported to police so far in 2012, a police source familiar with the incidents told Minivan News, on condition of anonymity.

The cases were “isolated, very difficult to [investigate]”, and there did not appear to be gang involvement or organised child prostitution ‘rings’, the source explained. The victims of child prostitution in the atoll were “typically 16 or 17 years-old”.

An island council official in Laamu Atoll told Minivan News child prostitution was resorted to by the “poorest of the poor” as a means to earn money to “fulfill basic needs of living.”

Child sexual abuse and incest occurring within some families has led to the practice being passed down through multiple generations, a civil society source researching the matter explained to Minivan News.

This history of sexual abuse has been exacerbated by overcrowding in homes following relocations after the 2004 tsunami, which in combination with severe economic hardship has led to the exploitation of children via prostitution.

During a visit to Laamu Atoll, Minivan News spoke to 51 year-old former atoll chief Abdul Wahhab Abdulla about the practice in the atoll.

Wahhab served as island chief of Gan for 25 years, atoll chief from 2008 to 2010, and was director general at the national administrative office of the South Central Province from 2011 to March 2012. He was subsequently demoted to island council director after March 2012.

Reported cases of child prostitution in the atoll were “very rare”, Wahhab said, “perhaps one case a year.”

There have been cases of middle aged or elderly men providing financial support to young girls for basic necessities “and then taking advantage of the position [of benefactor],” he explained.

“It is less child prostitution than sexual abuse,” he  continued. “I think it started after the tsunami after affected people from Mundhoo and Kalaidhoo [islands] migrated here.”

There were about four such cases of sexual abuse reported a year, he said.

In the past, Wahhab explained, island communities were smaller and people knew each other very well, making it difficult to hide crimes such as prostitution.

Reported cases typically involved low income families “with four or five children”, he said, with adolescent girls aged 16-17 often targeted.

“The children have basic needs that are not being fulfilled, so the elderly man will first gain the child’s trust with small gifts,” he explained.

“At that point he becomes her benefactor. Then he gets closer and tries to take advantage of the girl. And the girl does not have the capacity or courage to resist,” he said.

The gender department and police child and family protection services had attended to reported cases promptly, he added.

Atoll sex behaviour survey suppressed

In 2010, the gender department conducted a biological behaviour survey in Laamu Atoll focusing on child sexual abuse, homosexuality and drug use, explained the former atoll chief.

The results of the survey – which were never made public – suggested that the incidence of child abuse and homosexuality were much higher than previously expected, according to Wahhab.

The survey did not distinguish that child prostitution was occurring in Laamu Atoll at the time, he added.

Systemic exploitation nationwide

While children prostitution is more pronounced in some atolls than others, it is “a systemic problem” across the country and remains “a very, very hidden activity,” Dr Naaz explained.

The almost 10,000 participants of her sexual abuse and violence prevention workshops over the past two years had expressed particular concern that child sexual abuse, including child prostitution – is “a common problem”.

Communities from the far north to the south of the Maldives – including Male’, Haa Dhaal, Raa, Lhaviyani, and Addu Atolls – have also been affected, she said.

“People quite frequently talk about child sexual abuse, but we are not comfortable facing the finer details of this reality,” said Dr Naaz.

It was a misconception to think that Maldivians were not involved in the child sex trade, as it was “hidden and difficult to capture,” she said.

“There are people who are using young Maldivian girls in this trade, but it may not be happening at a guest house,” she explained.

Instead, this sexual exploitation occurs “more on [the victim's] own familiar ground, in rooms and houses”, making it difficult for the authorities to identify cases, collect evidence and intervene.

The involvement of young boys in child prostitution “cannot be ruled out”, however the practice “may be even more hidden”, she added.

Children are being forced to cater to both Maldivians and expatriate workers, she said, however the rates varied with Maldivians paying upwards of MVR 700 (US$45.60) while foreigners such as Bangladeshi labourers paid MVR 150 (US$9.77) “for sexual everything”, explained Dr Naaz.

“These girls have described that the people who pay for sex with them are often very young – 21 to 25 years-old – but sometimes include elderly people,” she continued, noting that the practice had increased in the past decade.

Sophisticated industry in Male’

In the capital Male’, child prostitution has reached a “sophisticated level” and encompasses different types of sexual abuse, explained Dr Naaz, with an even split between families pimping out their children for economic gain versus gangs facilitating the trade for girls suffering from substance abuse problems.

Rather than being gang-led phenomenon, families struggling to make ends meet and economic hardship had led to the rise of a generally ad hoc child sex industry.

“There are instances where family members may hire a room for rent, keep the children in there, and then use them to generate money through sexual activity so they can support their stay in Male’,” explained Dr Naaz.

“Many times the parent, uncle or sibling may be involved in drug abuse and in order to get money they introduce the children to the trade,” said Dr Naaz. “On the other hand, you have people deliberately using and recruiting young girls into this and involving them in sex.”

“Sometimes – and I don’t want to put the on blame them, because it’s not every gang – there are youth groups who may keep a few girls whom they pimp.”

She also highlighted instances of mentally disabled children being abused for sexual activities by adults.

“They’re vulnerable so they’re not able to protect themselves,” she said.

Other cases were said to involve groups of women renting rooms in Male’ and “recruiting vulnerable young people who may not have their parents [in the city],” she explained. In some cases,  young girls with intellectual impairments “are taken in by these groups of women.”

She identified a “gradual process” of minors being “groomed” by adults via the internet and/or social media, with children taken to known “spots” and introduced to those involved in the sex trade.

In other instances, the minors are pushed to provide nude photos, and then emotionally blackmailed with threats that the pictures will be posted on the web, and ultimately recruited into prostitution.

“In Male’, there have [also] been instances where a parent gets angry and tells the child to get out on the street, with the child picked up by somebody [because they are] in a helpless state,” said Dr Naaz. “Then they are taken to a guest house and used for prostitution, group sex and things like that.”

A school health counselor in Male’, who claimed to have encountered numerous cases of child prostitution, said poverty was one of the root causes of the abuse in Male.

“Mostly cases involve single parents – mums and dads – who come from the islands and try to survive in Male’,” said the counselor. “Cases where the mom lives in a guest house and facilitates prostitution for the whole family are common in Male’.”

In one specific instance, a student in Grade 7 (aged 12-13) and her sister were earning money from prostitution and giving the earnings to the family, with the parent’s knowledge, the source said.

“Children are [also] trafficked to the islands from Male’. The gender ministry cannot do anything regarding the kids because this happens at the family level and at the school level. They have no authority to say anything and are neglecting the issue,” the source alleged.

A civil society source currently investigating the practice told Minivan News that underage girls were being “groomed” by “benefactors” in Male’ and then sexually abused by the same men, which included both Maldivians and foreign nationals. The source said it is common to see teenage or adolescent girls with older men who were trying to buy sexual favors at particular shops in Male’ at the beginning of the month, around payday.

After being lured into prostitution, the children were then taken by some men to neighboring countries to engage in sexual acts, added the source.

Generations of damage

Some of the children exploited by the sex trade seek help, but the condition they are in is “very very sad”, lamented Dr Naaz. “It’s unbelievable for the Maldives.”

“Sometimes they are psychotic, mentally retarded, and they are the victims of rape, gang rape, group sex… and the child feels ‘I have no choice but to be there’ because their intellectual capacity is not [developed enough] to address that. They don’t have the skills [to get out of the situation],” she explained.

Some children also showed symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases and were being advised to seek testing and treatment, she added.

A comprehensive study is needed to determine exactly how many children are affected by this type of sexual abuse, emphasised Dr Naaz.

“I don’t think we would be different from most other societies, but the exact percentage we should determine from good research that determines the root causes,” she said.

While the exact root causes behind child prostitution – and other forms of sexual abuse – in the Maldives still need to be determined, there are some factors in addition to economic hardship that may be contributing to the practice.

“Many times Maldivians are living in very crowded environments in households where they are exposed to adult sexual activities and children learn, children get to know,” Dr Naaz speculated. “So the environment in which we are living could be one factor.”

Furthermore, “in the Maldives girls start having boyfriends at a very young age, grade 5 or 6, which is quite early. It seems more like people are indulging in sexual activities at a very young age,” she explained. “Sometimes these boyfriends may be on drugs and these boys may also be recruiting the girls into sexual activities. Young girls need to be very careful so they don’t get pushed into this.”

Children’s rights violated

Children are not aware of their rights and are not being taught or given opportunities to develop the proper social skills to protect themselves from attempted sexual abuse, including child prostitution, multiple sources emphasised to Minivan News.

“Young people should know their body is theirs and that nobody has a right to violate it. No one – no one – can violate it and there are other ways to earn money,” said Dr Naaz.

“We have to tell young people it’s not alright if your aunt [or anyone] says ‘go to that room with this boy’. Children need to be taught that this is wrong, that these are their rights that are being violated,” she emphasised. “Sometimes children don’t know this, or that they have the right to report [abuse].”

“Parents have a huge role to play, we have to monitor where our children are going. If they’re missing for long hours, we need to know where they are, and whether someone is abusing the freedom their parents have given them,” she continued.

“The child is a minor, so they may not be able to say no if they get pushed into this,” she added.

A ‘Happy Star’ program, created by Dr Naaz, details how parents can communicate to their children – in a language appropriate to children – to improve awareness about the dangers of being lured or forced into child prostitution.

She emphasised that relevant programs must be developed to protect children and teach them about their rights.

“There is a general erosion of values. People don’t seem to know where to set their limits or draw the line. We need to get back to our old values,” she said.

When a young boy is going to school saying ‘I can’t even say my mum is not doing it, my mum is sleeping with my friend’, that reflects an erosion of values,” she said.

The civil society source investigating the practice of prostitution among young people emphasised that parents and children are “not prepared to deal with these things”.

In addition to no effective sexual education taking place, “There is also no social education occurring and when children get older they rebel because they are not given the chance to be children - instead they are forced to take tuition from age four instead of having play time,” said the source.

“There are parents trying to bring up good kids, but the victims drag other children into their bad behavior,” the source continued.

“We are neglecting the issue, making it worse because no one is dealing with these things. Hiding the issue encourages the practice to continue,” the source declared.

“This has to come out and we have to think ‘out of the box’ to stop the root causes – not just do the same things over and over,” the source added.

Authorities, government uncooperative

The Maldives Police Service had not responded to an emailed series of questions at time of press.

Meanwhile, despite stating earlier this year that the abuse and neglect of children had reached “alarming levels“, the Gender Ministry failed to respond to multiple enquiries from Minivan News regarding child prostitution over the course of this investigation.

Further interviews arranged with relevant authorities in Laamu Atoll were curtailed by the Ministry in Male, with Minivan News ordered to submit a formal letter of enquiry to the office in Male’ requesting authorisation for its staff to speak.

Minivan News submitted such a letter to the Ministry on June 16 seeking “all relevant information regarding the occurrence of child prostitution” in Laamu Atoll and nationwide, as well as a copy of the Laamu Atoll survey conducted in 2010. At time of press, the Ministry had made no response.

Minivan News also contacted Minister of Gender, Family, and Human Rights Azima Shukoor, who did not respond to calls or text messages.

State Minister Dr Aishath Rameela was also not responding to calls at time of press. Minivan News attended her office to set up an appointment directly on Wednesday (June 19), but was informed by Dr Rameela’s secretary that she was unavailable for interview because she was “very busy”.



Agony, Anger, Anguish at Domestic Helpers’ Shelters in Riyadh and Jeddah

Jun 24, 2013

JEDDAH – There are 690 Indonesian domestic helpers at present at shelters in Riyadh and Jeddah. They are either the victims of torture or sexual abuse or unpaid wages.

Despite the efforts of their mission and the involvement of police and courts, their cases remain unresolved.

In one such shelter inside the Indonesian consulate premises in Jeddah, some 90 domestic helpers are waiting for their agony to end.

Some have been staying here over three years, said Tatang Razak, Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s chief for legal aid and the protection of Indonesian overseas workers.

The shelter has several rooms where beds are kept next to each other. There are lockers in each room for the occupants. A room has been allocated for reading and is also used as a mosque.

Each woman in the shelter had a different story to tell, but they all share the same agony and an uncertain future. In the basement of the shelter, a group of women was seen preparing food: plain rice with chicken. Other women from the shelter were seen helping consulate employees organize paperwork for people seeking to rectify their status.

Among the women resting at the shelter is Sumiati BT Salan Mustapa, the domestic helper who is said to have been tortured by her sponsor in Madinah back in 2010. Her story made headlines in major newspapers at that time.

Sumiati is now working at the consulate. The scars of surgery are visible on her face. She is awaiting judgement on her case, and hopes that the judge is “fair” when tackling her case.

Officials at the consulate said that they have hired a new lawyer for Sumiati because the old lawyer was not conducting as per the expectations.

The occupants of the shelter include those who were not paid their wages for several years.

In broken Arabic, they told Saudi Gazette that they trusted their employers who said that their salaries are being saved in banks but they were never given their hard-earned money. They are still waiting for courts to consider their cases.

“I worked for 19 years in Makkah with my sponsor. He paid me only for seven years of work. I am still waiting for the court to help me get back my wages,” said a domestic helper, insisting that she will not go back to Indonesia unless she gets her money back.

In fact, many occupants of the shelter insist that they will not leave unless they get their due.

Another housemaid claimed that she had not been paid for the past 14 years. Her case is complicated, explained officials, because her sponsor is dead.

Another housemaid at the shelter has been waiting to go home after she was proven not guilty by a court after the father of her sponsor accused her of conducting black magic. After spending a month in prison she was released.



Muslim Women Marriage Age: CPI (M) Sees Contempt of House

Jun 24, 2013

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has asked the government to withdraw the controversial order fixing 16 years as the marriage age of Muslim girls, terming it a violation of the land’s laws.

CPI (M) State unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, in a statement here on Saturday, said there was strong opposition to the order from progressive people even within the Muslim community. The marriage age had been fixed at 18 years because of the perception that girls should attain that age to be mentally and physically prepared for marriage.

The country had passed laws against child marriage. The Chandy government’s order had thrown to the winds such progressive legislations, he said.

Mr. Vijayan said the circular issued by the Local Administration Principal Secretary was illegal. It had directed civic bodies to register marriages of Muslim women above 16 years and men who have not attained the age of 21 years upon furnishing a certificate from religious regulatory institutions.


Mr. Vijayan said the State legislature had approved the relevant rules to conform to the ruling of the five-member Bench of the Supreme Court directing States to pass legislation to make 21 and 18 as the marriage age of men and women. He said that the government secretary’s action of nullifying the rules approved by the State Legislature amounted contempt of the House. Reducing the marriage age would harm the fundamental rights of Muslim women.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan came out with a similar statement terming the State government action a violation of laws and court verdicts. He said the Child Marriage Prohibition act of 2006 had made marriage of men and women below 21 and 18 years of age, respectively, a criminal offence. He wanted the State government to take action against the Local Administration Secretary for issuing the order that amounted to contempt of the Assembly.


A Correspondent writes from Kannur: The government directive to legalise marriage between Muslim men and women before attaining 21 years and 18 years of age respectively on the basis of affidavits provided by religious institutions is condemnable, Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad has said.

In a press release here on Saturday, the parishad said girls at the age of 16 did not attain mental, physical, or social maturity.



Bahrain court confirms policewoman's acquittal

  Jun 24, 2013

DUBAI — A Bahraini appeals court Sunday confirmed the acquittal of a policewoman on trial for torturing a journalist arrested during the unrest in the Gulf kingdom two years ago, judicial sources said. On Oct.22 last year, she was acquitted on charges of torturing female journalist Naziha Saeed, Manama's correspondent for France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, during the crackdown on anti-regime protests. But prosecutors appealed the decision to acquit the policewoman, whose name was not given. The officer was prosecuted for hitting the journalist on May 22, 2011, after she was summoned by the police for questioning about her links with Al-Manar, the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah's television channel. — AFP



Female Scholar Conducts Research on Declining Sex Ratio among Muslims in Jammu

23 Jun 2013

Female Scholar conducts research on reasons of declining sex ration among Muslims in Jammu

Lack of Religious knowledge is utmost reason: Jabina Banoo

Jammu: A Muslim Girl Scholar of Jammu University Jabina Banoo has conducted research on reasons of declining sex ration among Muslims in Jammu and has observed that female foeticide in this community is due to lack of religious knowledge. The research also exposed that that 90% people visiting Ultrasound clinics consult about sex determination test and remaining 10% consult for normal check-up not regarding sex determination test.

A resident of Changa village of far-flung area of Bhallesa in Doda district, Jabina Banoo daughter of Mohammad Sharief Batt - scholar of Home Science with specialization in human development has got her 2 research papers published in 2 International Journals “International Indexed & Refereed Research Journal” and “Indian Streams Research Journal” on the Female Feoticide which has become hot topic after 2011 Census report observed grim situation of sex ratio in various districts of Jammu & Kashmir.

In her research that was conducted along with Shashi Manhas on a section of community in Bathindi , Channi , Sunjuwan and Gujjar Nagar area of Jammu district, Human Development Research Scholar Jabina Banoo has observed that it is only lack of religious knowledge that is becoming main reason of the female feoticide in Jammu area. She quoted a Koranic verse of Surah Al- Anam, Chapter 6, Verse 151 in which Allah says “when the female (Infant) is buried or killed, it is questioned, for what crime she was killed.”. She had also grilled Doctors on the issue and 100 percent doctors have confirmed that it is lack of religious knowledge among Muslim women which is responsible for sex determination. The doctors in the research have also responded that it is also due to preference of son, lack of awareness regarding status of women in Islam and also due to discrimination with girls but most of the factor is lack of religious knowledge.

The research has also observed that 90% doctors are being consulted by the people about sex determination test and remaining 10% doctors responded that people consult them for normal check-up not regarding sex determination test which is cause of concern. Picture that arises from the results is that female foeticide is now common in Muslims community also. She has observed that illegal abortion of female fetuses has been on the rise because of increasing dowry demands, son preference, and easy access to sex-determination of foetus and sex-determination methods. Jabina Banoo said that people find foeticide easier than infanticide now a day. She said that majority of parents in a present research were aware about sex determination methods and considered it right and safe method for having a son and most of the parents said that it was morally wrong to kill a girl child in the womb but simultaneously it was considered better to kill the girl child through foeticide by spending little amount on it and to save marriage expenses in future.

During the study, it was found that laws and legislation were violated in each and every aspect and people were aware about legal aspect of this issue but they still go for such practices. It also revealed that they were unaware about the status of women in this community due to this, their attitude towards girl child was not good.

It is pertinent to mention here that according to 2011 census ratio of girls to boys in India is 914/1000 males and in Jammu and Kashmir State it is 859/1000 males. Child sex ratio measured as the number of girls for every 1000 boys in the 0-6year age group has declined in districts of Jammu and Kashmir included Leh from 823 to 583, Kargil 837 to 775, Poonch 919 to 890, Rajouri 878 to 863, Kathua 898 to 877, Jammu 871 to 865 and also decline in six districts of Kashmir. Pulwama 836(-173change since 2001), Badgam 832(-170change since 2001), Kupwara 854(-167changa since2001), Anantnag 831(-130change since2001), Srinagar 869(-82change since2001)



Her Last Wish: To Go Back To Home Country, India

Jun 24, 2013

JEDDAH – She is old, lonely and infirm. She prefers to be addressed as ‘grandma’.

Mariam Abubackar, 73, was found at the Indian consulate to which she was sent from the deportation centre about a month ago.

Muhammad Ali, a social worker, shifted her from the consulate to a local polyclinic, where she is being looked after by volunteers.

The grandma arrived in Makkah about 40 years ago. She said that she was staying not far from the Grand Mosque with her brother and niece with whom she has lost touch. Now she has no one to look after her. So she wants to go to her home country, India. But she has lost her passport which had the number and date of her entry into the Kingdom.

She was taken to the deportation centre, but she did not have any documents with her. So she was sent to the Indian consulate.

Now Muhammad Ali and other social workers have helped her get a new passport, but the passports department wants her entry date and number so as to allow her to formalize the exit procedures.

Caught in the paperwork, the grandma is counting days when she will be able to finally see her relatives back home. She is totally dejected and depressed. She has even stopped taking food.

With wrinkles on her face and furrows of panic and tension on her forehead and prayer beads in her hand, the grandma prefers to keep to herself.