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Reunited with family after 5 yrs’ ordeal
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9, 2004

For Mr Balbir Singh Bains, a UK resident for 25 years, his last visit to his motherland, turned out to be a nightmare, separating him from his family, including his mentally and physically challenged daughter.

After a long-running campaign and legal battle sustained by the Indo-British community and supported by Mrs Manjit Kaur Gill, his solicitor, he has now been reunited with his family in Southall after five years.

His is the story of victimisation, false imprisonment and frustrating delays. He faced brutal treatment at the hands of the Indian authorities as well as the British Home Office.

Wrongfully imprisoned in June 1999 by the Indian authorities on the charge of “terrorism”, he was physically and psychologically tortured, says Mr Harinder Singh, Practice Manager, who spearheaded the campaign for Mr Bains.

After three years in jail without a conviction, he was subsequently found innocent of all charges, which were declared improper and unjust by Delhi’s Special Court. Whilst exonerating him, Special Judge, M.L. Sahni said in his final judgement:

“A balloon of falsehoods…the prosecution story stands falsified…It is well said that a lie does not have legs to stand on…Accordingly, I acquit the accused of the charges framed against him.”

Says Mr Harinder Singh: “It was even more shocking when shortly afterwards, an internal investigation conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (I.B) proved that the RDX explosives allegedly ‘found’ on Balbir’s person were, in fact, from an operation unit of the police.”

After his acquittal in May 2002 Mr Balbir Bains expected to be immediately reunited with his long-suffering family. However, to his horror, he discovered that he was yet to face another two years of heart-wrenching separation from his wife and five children. Since the UK Home Office continued to consider him a threat to national security.

“This denial of return to his home was in gross violation of the right to family life as outlined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights”, said Mr Harinder Singh.

Mrs Manjit Kaur Gill From Gravesend, who represented Mr Bains, appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) on August 18, 2003, against the decision not to allow him into the UK for reasons of national security. Substantive evidence in response to the Secretary of States evidence was filed in June 2004 as a result of which the Home Office had no option but to withdraw the case against him and issue him a returning resident visa to the UK.

Source: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20041010/punjab1.htm#3

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