Community fights for elderly Indian Sikh woman facing deportation from UK

LONDON, Nov 26: The case of an elderly Indian Sikh woman, which first came to light back in 2019, has continued to attract widespread community support in the West Midlands region of England as her supporters fight against her deportation.
Gurmit Kaur, 78, came to the UK in 2009 and Smethwick has been home to her ever since, reads an online petition attracting over 65,000 signatures since it was launched in July 2020.
More recently, “We Are All Gurmit Kaur” has been running across social media as the local community continues to rally around the widow.
“Gurmit Kaur has no family to turn to in the UK and no family to return to in Punjab, so the local Sikh community of Smethwick have adopted her,” reads the petition on Change.Org.
“Gurmit applied to stay but has been refused even though she has no family to return to in Punjab, India. Gurmit is a very kind woman, even though she has nothing she is still generous and will always give what she can, when she can. Most of her days are spent volunteering at the local gurdwara,” it reads.
The UK Home Office maintains that Kaur was still in contact with people in her home village in Punjab and would be able to re-adjust to life there.
Salman Mirza, an immigration advisor for the Brushstroke Community Project who started the petition and is among those helping Kaur through the visa appeals process, told the BBC that her ordeal has been like torture for her.
“She has a derelict house in the village, with no roof and would have to find heating, food, and resources in a village she hasn’t been to in 11 years. It’s like water torture, it’s like a slow death, she’s never had the right to work and provide for herself,” he said.
A Home Office spokesperson said that while it cannot comment on individual cases, “all applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and on the basis of the evidence provided”.
Kaur first travelled to the UK in 2009 to attend a wedding and was initially living with her son.
After becoming estranged from her family, she went on to rely on the kindness of strangers. She has widespread support within her local community where she regularly volunteers at local charities. (PTI)