A Pakistani woman, who had come to India 35 years ago to take part in a family wedding in Etah district of Uttar Pradesh, has landed in trouble. When she took up the post of ‘officiating village head’, villagers protested, saying she was not a citizen of the country.
Bano Begum had come to India from Karachi, Pakistan, to be a part of the wedding of one of her relatives in the Etah district never to go back. She got married to an Akhtar Ali here. She had been living here since then by getting her long-term visa extended time and again.
Moreover, the Pakistani woman participated in the rural local body elections and got elected as a member of her village panchayat in 2015. Now, with her identity disclosed, the District Panchayati Raj Officer (DPRO) has ordered an FIR against Bano.
In Village Gudau under the Jalesar tehsil in District Etah, the Pakistani woman earned a respect for herself when her nationality was not known. The locals elected her as a member of Village Panchayat in the last rural bodies polls. After the death of the then Pradhan Shahnaz Begum on 9 January 2020, the Gudau village panchayat members asked Bano Begum to take over as the officiating pradhan.
But when the word about her Pakistani origin spread, she relinquished the post by submitting her resignation in the first week of December 2020.
However, the DPRO got a probe conducted into her credentials and found that she had yet to take the citizenship of India. Consequently, he ordered the secretary of the village panchayat to lodge a case against her.
Locals said a villager Quwaidan Khan brought the appointment of the Pakistani woman as officiating village head to the notice of District Panchayati Raj Officer (DPRO) Alok Priyadarshi on 10 December 2020. The DPRO sought the help of the local police that corroborated Khan’s complaint.
After the probe, the police authorities found that Bano continued to be a Pakistani national but she had procured her voter ID card and Aadhar card through illegal means.
Priyadarshi directed the Gadau Gram Panchayat secretary Dhyan Singh to lodge a case against Bano Beghum.
However, it was revealed by the local sources that after the demise of the then gram pradhan Shahnaz Beghum, it was Dhyan Singh who had recommended the name of Bano Beghum to officiate in place of Shahnaz. However, he has been shifted from Gudau village panchayat.
Moreover, the sources claimed that the probe was being conducted against all those who had helped Bano procuring Aadhar card, Voter ID card, and other documents. Action against all those who would be found helping her in committing the fraud would be taken later on the basis of the probe report.