This Indian homeless man fled Gujarat post Godhra riots and now lives in London's public buses

A nameless stranger roams the dark streets of London in public buses. He's a failed asylum seeker, and homeless man from India

FP Staff April 02, 2015 15:46:41 IST
This Indian homeless man fled Gujarat post Godhra riots and now lives in London's public buses

A nameless stranger roams the dark streets of London in public buses. No he's not a superhero but a  homeless man from India, who fights the biting UK cold by catching a few winks in public transport. He calls himself Ahmed, but we know better than to assume that is his real name.

According to this recent interview by BBC, Ahmed who is originally a farmer from rural Gujarat, fled India in 2002, after he witnessed his uncle being stabbed during the communal riots.

This Indian homeless man fled Gujarat post Godhra riots and now lives in Londons public buses

Representational image. AP

Ahmed was forced by his parents to leave the country in the hope of a better future, but as a failed asylum seeker, he has nowhere to go but to swing between midnight buses in the hope that he will survive the night.

"They said 'you should go, don't worry about us'. That day was a very heavy day for me because I was leaving my parents alone," he says in the BBC interview.

When Ahmed applied for asylum once his visitor's visa expired, his appeal was rejected on the grounds that he could start a new life in Gujarat and didn't need to stay back in London. It is then that Ahmed decided he would rather stay in the UK as a homeless person, than return to India.

"I can't go. Back home I have a more dangerous situation and persecution. So I'm not ready to go back to India," he says.

In 2010, Red Cross published a report stating that there were 200,000 failed asylum seekers living in London, and only 20,000 of them visit the Red Cross centers for free food and a hot shower.

Chief executive of Red Cross, Nick Young said, “Our report shows that current policy is making thousands of refused asylum seekers destitute. Unable to work and provide for themselves, deprived of accommodation and denied healthcare, these people’s lives are in limbo."

Ahmed's tragic story isn't one of a kind. A couple of years ago, The Guardian had reported a Somalian native, who calls himself Abdi, is one among the many homeless asylum rejects, living in the corners of London. Abdi switches his time between a mosque in a suburb of Birmingham during cold winter nights, and the public loo in a bar during the day.

"People tell me to 'go home' or 'get a job' but I can't do either," said Abdi.

 

 

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