This is the painful story of a Pakistani refugee Sadia Khan. Sri Lankan authorities kept her in detention along with her minor sister and mother. Their Passports and valuables remain in the custody of Sri Lankan Immigration though they are recognized refugees by UNHCR.
Here is the full story by Sadia Khan:
It was Saturday 9 , 2013. Some 20 immigration officers were banging and kicking at our door.
I knew we were in a deep trouble. I had been writing about Pak ISI. As soon as I got exposed Pak Loyal Lankans were at my door to teach me a lesson.
They were bent upon coming inside our rented apartment in Dehi Walla Colombo. They did not have any lady officer with them. I refused to open the door. I showed them all our documents through the closed glass windows. This did not satisfy them. They kept threatening that they will break the door open. Me and my sister kept a heavy sofa to block the door. I took my mother and sister to the room. We took our important documents and valuables. I told my family to follow me. At that time some officers were crowded in front of the main door and some were in the main compound of the building.
We came to the balcony. I was the 1st one to jump from our balcony ( 2nd floor) in to the balcony of the next building apartment. It was very risky. My family followed. Now we were in the house of the next building. We were shivering with fear and made our way downstairs in to the house. The house was full of wild looking dogs. We saw 2 huge dogs downstairs. There were more dogs in the house. No sign of any human being. We were extremely scared but kept going down. To our utter surprise the dogs did not bark and were waging their tails.. An old man appeared, he looked at us and rushed to open the door. We were out of the house. Soon we took a taxi and were on our way to an unknown location. When we came in our senses my little sister suggested that we should go to Kandy and I said yes.
We stayed in Kandy for 1 week in a room and on March 9, 2013 upon reassurance from UNHCR Colombo staff we came back to our apartment in Colombo.
We were arrested by the taxi drivers and the traffic police man. They held us tightly by our wrists. A big crowd gathered, I fell down while resisting. Many touched me all over making an excuse of lifting me. Someone snatched my heavy gold chain.
The immigration officers arrived almost after half an hour. They looked triumphed. They took us to Dehi Walla police station. While we were sitting in the police station, Mr. Amit the Head of the immigration officers entered in the room. My mother said “For God sake do not deport us”.
He replied in a sharp voice with lot of anger, “THERE IS NO GOD HERE” History is a witness that God was there and stood quietly by us.
They joked about our earlier escape.
A long argument started between Mr. Amit and the head of the police. Mr. Amit was forcing them to put us in the jail. He was plainly refused and was told that we have not committed any crime. In a furious mood he brought us to the detention camp Mirihana.
My mother was crying loudly and we all were in a very bad shape. An officer shouted at me and said,
“YOU GIVE OUR INFORMATION TO INDIA?”
Another officer looked at me and said,
“WHY DID YOU DO THAT! YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR COUNTRY!!?”
Mr. Amit took our passports by force. When he walked away with our passports in his hand, my heart sank. I asked him to give me a receipt stating that he has taken our passports. He turned raised his hand and shouted “GO”
Mr. Tatari an Afghan detainee told me that a very well-educated Pakistani man who spoke to him in English came to the detention center and reconfirmed that 3 Pakistani women have arrived in the camp.
Next day he met another Pakistani suited booted man who tried to gather information about us.
Mr. Tatari had earlier written about Taliban and I wrote about the handlers of Taliban We both played with fire and destroyed our life.
Me and my family spent almost 1 month in the detention camp and every day came to know more and more that we were trapped by the joint venture of ISI and SIS.
We were told by the officers on duty very proudly that,
“Head of ISI contacted SIS Head
Your house is sealed
A special CID team is investigating about you
You will be taken to the judge and get deported”.
Another very strange thing happened.
A detainee family from Burma was briefed to fight with us all the time.
A girl from that family went to the kitchen and hit her hand she started crying loudly and claimed that we fought with her and broke her hand. It was reported to the police in the camp.
It was also reported that me and my 11 years old sister were writing love letters to the detainees in the male section. We were warned that we will be shifted to the jail.
I have a minor heart attack
I was extremely scared and had a minor heart attack.
I was admitted to the Calbo walla teaching hospital in Colombo. I was guarded in the hospital 24 hours by police men and women in uniform. I felt very insulted. My mother was not allowed to visit me.
I am told that I am a criminal
I called my Church brother and asked him to help me he said,
“Police came to my home I don’t like it. Now you have been declared a criminal and it is a crime to help criminals. You don’t even know what you are charged with.”
I begged him to tell me what I am charged with but he refused to tell me.
I stayed in the hospital for 4 days. I was discharged from the hospital while I was still very sick. A Doctor told me that authorities have informed the hospital Management that I was a spy.
I was taken from the Hospital by the armed police man and woman.
I am enlisted in the jail
They 1st took us to a horrible looking jail where they entered our name. It sent shock waves all over my body. The sight of the jail was extremely frightening, I felt dizzy and was about to vomit. A barefooted young man behind the bars kept pointing to me to take him out from there.
When we came back to the detention camp I found out that they never take detainees to the jail when they get discharged from the hospital. It kept worrying me all the time why they took me there and entered my name?
I knew everything was just not right. I planned to flee from the trap. I started going for morning walks to know the way out. I was successful in doing that.
I appeal To the President in the newspaper
Meanwhile I had also started writing to Journalists in Sri Lanka. I wrote an appeal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa stating clearly that I was a joint target of ISI and SIS and asked him to help me. I put that on my blog but it was not enough. I tried hard to get it published. Finally I got an answer from COLOMBO GAZZETE.
Easwaran Rutnum a Christian Journalist wrote back to me and reassured me that he will publish my appeal after making sure the authenticity of the content and events. He also wanted to meet me in the detention camp for an interview. Before I read his email we left the detention camp. I also did not know that he had published my appeal in his newspaper as promised.
On Sunday 7 April 2013 I took my Mom and my sister to the kitchen and briefed them about my plan. My mom said she will stay behind as it will be very hard for 3 of us to flee from the detention camp. I told her we will divide in to 2 groups. I will lead. You will follow me at a distance giving an impression that we were strangers to each other.
Escape from the detention Camp
Monday 8 April 2013 we left our camp B at dawn and were in the main compound of the detention camp which had many police stations with a heavy presence of Police everywhere.
We walked separately for some time pretending we were out for morning walk. My mother and sister forgot my instructions and walked very fast giving a very unusual impression. My sister was abnormally fast and dropped the purse which I had given her. It contained small money (10000 RS) for immediate use 2 dialogue sims issued under my mother’s passport. Sim number 0778343065 and one more.
We kept walking till the main gate opened. I made my way to the gate. My family followed at a distance. A neat and clean well perfumed police officer passed by and looked at me. My heart came in my throat “Have a nice day” he said and smiled….. Oh “you too have a nice day” I replied. In my heart I said have a nice day every day all the way.
I truly love Sri Lankan police they can clearly differentiate between criminals and innocent people.
We were now out of the detention Camp. We took a taxi and were out of the area.
We had 9000 Euros with us. In addition My mother had 4 heavy gold bangles. We were not likely to have any financial problems but had severe safety issues. We were thankful to God for our freedom and prayed to God to walk with us and never leave us alone.
We went to a hotel and paid them for a stay for one day. They asked for our passport number. They asked where is your luggage? I made up some stories and tried to satisfy them. They remained doubtful. I was coughing very badly and was indeed very sick. We made an excuse that we were going to the hospital. We left the hotel never to return.
We went to a restaurant and took our breakfast later. When the shops opened we bought 2 burqas to cover ourselves. We also covered our faces. I let my little sister dress up in a different way and was successful to give her an immediate different look.
We spend the night in a mosque
Now we were looking for a place to go. We had no idea where to go. I had a sharp pain in my chest. We were in a very bad condition. We got in to a bus and went far away from Colombo. We reached Athurugiriya.
I wanted to go to a Church but my mother knocked at the door of a mosque. We requested them to let us stay there for one day.
A simple looking man who spoke broken English took us in. His name was Abdul Rahman. He said he will ask the Manager and arrange for our stay. We were taken to a private room. He served us food. Very innocently he started talking about the pain of his personal life. He told us that he lost almost all of his family members in Tsunami.
It was 8 in the evening when 3 men entered in our room. They asked us many questions. They were especially worried about the legality of our stay in Sri Lanka. I tried to satisfy them and was able to stop them from reporting to the police. We ended our conversation upon deciding that in the morning at 9 we will go to Pakistan High Commission accompanied by them. We will ask Pak High Commission to issue us new passports as we had lost our old passports in a market…. They went satisfied.
We left the place early in the morning without letting anyone know about our departure.
We stay in Dutch Villa Galle
We went to Galle and stayed in a hotel named Dutch Villa. After few days we left the hotel. It was very expensive.
We stay in Nuwara Eliya area
We came to Nuwara Eliya and stayed in a rest house named Hanna Komodo at lady Differen road. It was too much cold there. We stayed there for 2 week. The lady owner named Shahnaz and her husband were very kind to us. They had one daughter named Hanna and 6 boys. Shahnaz became a friend of my Mom. It was April and the rates of the hotels were very high. We decided to leave the place in search of a house on rent.
A short visit to Trincomalee
During our travels from one place to another, my 11 years old sister Amala fell down while getting off from a train. She sprained her hand. She kept crying with lot of pain and kept begging me not to take her to the hospital. We were all scared if we go to the hospital we will be caught. We were devastated.
We came to Trincomalee. We stayed in a hotel named Anthon garden for 2 days when they asked for the passport we moved to another hotel named French garden. When French Garden asked for the passport we left Trincomalee.
Our stay in Kandy Starts
We went to Kandy and found a room in a private house. The rent was reasonable and we were quite comfortable. There I came to know that Easwaran Rutnum has published my appeal, I was very happy.
Friendly Officer alerts me
I called one of the officers whom I met in the detention camp. The officer had been very kind to me I trusted him fully. I thought he will give me the good news that it’s over and there was no need to hide any more.
To my horror I found out that things had become worse. He talked to me with a lot of fear and advised me again and again to delete his number from my mobile.
“Hide, hide! he said Special Forces are looking for you. He also told me that according to the authorities I was recently spotted in Jaffna”. He advised me again and again to press UNHCR to give me asylum.
I was frozen with fear.
Lady owner gets doubtful about us
We spent 2 weeks there in Kandy and left in a hurry when the family got doubtful about us. Actually their son who lived in the adjacent room heard our conversation and reported to the parents that all we were talking about was immigration, detention, jail and police.
The lady was very worried and wanted us to leave as soon as possible. I tried to fix the problem and left in emergency.
Drunken house owner attacks us
We found another house in Kandy. A taxi driver took us there. The house belonged to a middle aged couple. We rented one room. We lived there for few days. It was a quiet evening when the drunken house owner entered in our room and attacked me and my sister. His wife was not home. He touched us very badly. Our mother interfered and he left abusing us.
After that we were too fed-up with other cities and came back to Colombo.
Sri Lankan Journalist Easwaran Rutnum fails to help
During our stay in Kandy I had already contacted Easwaran Rutnum. I thanked him for publishing our story. He was very kind and wanted to take us out from this trouble. We started chatting on the Facebook. He told me that he will marry me on the humanitarian ground to save my life. He was also worried about the rest of my family. I did not like the word Humanitarian but readily agreed.
My fear was gone. Easwaran published another story about us in his newspaper Sunday times.
He was a thorough gentleman and never asked me to meet him. He tried day and night to free us. He was writing emails to human rights organizations. He talked to lawyers about us. As the time passed by he sounded less optimistic.
Once in a very angry mood he told me to delete my website about ISI. I did that. (Now it is reposted)
Later he told me that he would talk to the foreign Ministry about us.
The next day Easwaran left an abrupt message of Good bye.
He wrote clearly that he cannot afford to support us anymore. It was one of the saddest moments of my life. Easwaran was gone. I was all alone.
We come back to Colombo
We came back to Colombo and stayed in a Hotel. I started looking for an apartment. Soon I found a room in Colopetia.
Mr. Shoaib was the owner of the building. He was a divorcee. He had 5 children. 4 of them lived with his EX wife and often visited their father. His older son Yousaf a 14 years old lived with him and acted like a small business man. A taxi driver took me there I met Yousaf and his grandmother. Yousaf agreed to rent out one room of his building. He called his father who was not home and talked about us. I quickly gave him some advance money. The boy gave me a receipt. It was done.
Hiding in Colopetiya for 5 Long months
In June 2013 we moved to Shoaib’s room. It was on JMC (Jayasekera Management Centre) street adjacent to Renuka Hotel. It was very near to Colopetia Police Station but we had no other choice.
Shoaib and his son were both very talkative and simple. We told them that we were waiting to go to Canada. They were quite satisfied with the story we told them and never asked us for passports. Shoaib had 2 other married sisters living nearby in the same street. We started living in peace.
Getting Mobile Sims
We desperately needed mobile sims to continue our campaign on the internet. To call UNHCR, Human rights groups, Journalists etc. we also needed 1 sim for our daily use.
We had no passports, an original passport was required to issue a sim. I tried to get a sim but failed. My mother went and was able to get a sim. She simply told the taxi driver that she was a refugee and had no passport. Some kind hearted taxi driver agreed to issue a sim for her and advised her to be careful while using it.
Later she got 2 more sims.
We go in Disguise
In Colombo I wore a burqa and my sister Amala was in the guise of a boy.
Yousaf and Shoaib’s nephew Arshad always wanted to play with him (Amala). They wanted to take him to the mosque. They always wondered why the boy was not going out with them. Once Yousaf noticed my cross and was very disturbed. I made up some excuses and satisfied him.
Student visas office in front of our house
After one month Shoaib rented out the front portion of our room to a man named Ameen and his wife. Ameen opened his private office there and started working. It was horrifying when we found out that his work was so much connected with Sri Lankan immigration. He was arranging visas for students to go abroad. Through the slit of the door I could see loads of passports on his table. Our own passports were snatched. I felt extremely deprived at the sight of those passports.
We move to next house
We finished one month in the room when Shoaib insisted that we should move to his sister’s house which was adjacent to his building. He wanted to give the whole place to Ameen.
We moved in to his sister’s house. It was not as comfortable as Shoaib’s room. It had no kitchen. It was too hot. We lived with closed windows and closed door for many reasons. My sister was in the guise of a boy and I covered my head all the time. The reason behind was we were very active on the internet. We were posting our videos and photos to seek help. We looked ways different than we looked on the internet but still we were afraid to be recognized.
Link of the video
We stayed in that room for one month and again shifted to a room in Shoaib’s building. The room was on the top floor. Irshaad a young Mullah in a mosque lived next door. His sister Inzia also lived there with her husband and a lovely 2 years old son. The family was very impressed with my all-time Hijab. They took me for a very religious woman.
The room was a bit more private but the problem was it had no plaster on the walls. Windows had no glasses. Rain water was coming inside. There were lots of insects and ants. There were rats in the room. We were devastated but kept living there. Shoaib never mentioned passports and we did not want to lose him.
Here is the video of the room.
In the video we photoshopped the photos because we were scared that someone might recognize the place.
Pak High Commission plays double game
I had been calling Pak High Commission for quite some time. I told them plainly that I wrote about ISI and ISI has trapped me In Sri Lanka. My demand was to free me from friendly Sri Lanka and ask them to return our passports... I also told them plainly that ISI would not spare me and I had no intention to go back. I told them that both me and my mother will get married here and never go back to Pakistan.
In the beginning I talked to Tariq Mahmood who worked in the passport department. Later I spoke to Amir Zubair Sidiqi and they told me that my case will be sent both to Islamabad and Sri Lanka. It will be decided by Islamabad not by Pak High commission in Sri Lanka.
They sounded positive. Later everyone changed, perhaps the Khakies refused to forgive me. Staff of the High Commission came up with different statements. Some said it is still under consideration in Pakistan some said we never sent the case to Pakistan. Sometimes I was told that they did not get a positive response from Sri Lanka, yet another statement was we have not spoken to Sri Lanka yet.
Amir Zubair Sidiqi said we wrote a letter to Sri Lanka. We don’t talk to them on the Phone.
I also spoke to the Deputy High Commissioner Amna Baloch many times. She was very worried about me but had no authority. She sounded helpless. Once she told me I have no access to your file in the Embassy. Amir Sidiqi and Qasim Qureshi ( High Commissioner) are working on it.
Pak High commission always demanded that I should visit them. The demand was very pressing and was repeated countless times.
Once I spoke to the representative of Defence department Sheheryar Pervaz Butt. He was the only one who lost temper. He told me that he has served Pakistan by having 4 bullets in his body; he called me a traitor and abused me.
Pak High commission tried to trace my calls but failed. I was using black berry with a lot of caution. I had 2 cell phones. One a simple cheap phone which was being used for those who knew me as Sara a girl who was married to a Sri Lankan Canadian who was in Canada and was waiting for her visa to go to Canada. The other was a black berry it was used for those who knew my real identity as Sadia. I was extremely careful that both the phones have no mutual calls.
I kept calling Pak High Commission for months.
The receptionist of Pak High commission got very familiar with me. She told me that there is a lot of communication between Pak High Commission and Sri Lankan Immigration about me… I was disappointed why lot of communication yet no help!!!
Nobody would believe that Pakistan failed to get my passport from very friendly Sri Lanka. Their failure was intentional. They were running with the hare and hunting with the hunter.
Disappointed I reposted my website about Pakistan ISI.
I contact Sri Lankan Immigration
Now I started contacting Sri Lankan immigration. I spoke to the deputy controller of Immigration. He immediately recognized me and asked about my location. I told him
“I am in Kandy”. I replied and asked him “will you return our passports”?.
He said “no”
I said “if I get married to a foreigner and want to leave your country will you return my passport”?
He replied “NO! Why did you come to Sri Lanka”?
He also gave me a precious advice that I should go to Pak High Commission and get new passports.
Sri Lankan Immigration officer says RUN TO INDIA
I did not give up and kept calling. I spoke to Mr. Bandara Assistant controller in immigration. He was not familiar with my case and took the details from me. He promised to help.
After a week I called him. He was changed. He spoke to me in a very suspicious way. In the guise of a friend
He told me,
“Mr. Perera had a meeting with UNHCR. They will not give you asylum. I will give you your passports secretly. Run to India. Change your current location This call must be getting traced, run.”
We must live separately from our mother
I was exhausted. My mother was alarmed. This hiding was not doing any good to us. My mother decided to come out from hiding go to UNHCR office and beg them personally to save our life.
Due to the fear of authorities I started looking for another place to live. Soon I found it. It was a house in Wellawata Galle Road on Chapel Street 2. It belonged to a broker. His wife Wahida readily accepted me and my sister to live with them. She took 20000 from me as an advance rent for the next 30 days a low budget lunch and dinner were also included. I shifted my luggage to the new place and decided to go there myself when my mother leaves for UNHCR
A Sri Lankan Government lawyer doubts my identity
My mother wanted to give me the legal custody of my sister Amala. She was going out from hiding and was worried about Amala that, in case if she gets deported by force Amala should be legal to live with me. I agreed with her. We wanted to write it down on a legal paper. I decided to go to a lawyer to get a stamp paper.
I went to a lawyer. His name was Zameer. His office was in Wella watta behind Galle road and asked for it.
The lawyer got doubtful about me. My face was fully covered he was staring at me. He asked about my name I said “Sara”.
“Are you from Pakistan”? He asked. “No from India” I replied. “You cannot be from India you are white.” He said. I laughed and asked “How do you know I am white” He said I can see the white color around your eyes. “Ok let me tell you there are too many white people in India You need to go to India.” I spoke confidently while I was trembling from inside.
He seemed satisfied and said “Ya may be in the Northern areas”.
Who is he? He pointed to Amala. “My brother” I said.
“Show me your passport” He demanded. “I don’t have it. I am married to a Sri Lankan”. I answered.
“So then why you said you are Indian” He asked
“My blood is Indian and my nationality is Sri Lankan”. I laughed.
“Show me your ID card” he demanded. “Ok” I said and started searching for my Sri Lankan ID card in my purse. “I don’t have it now”. I said and looked at him. He looked satisfied and was searching for some papers. He took out some paper and said, “Is this the paper you are looking for”? I said I am not sure. Tomorrow I will bring my mother in law here. She knows about it. He gave me his card and I stepped out from his office. It was a narrow escape.
Human Rights Activist Lawyer vows to help
I started calling Sri Lankan Newspapers again. No body published my story due to the fear of authorities. One of the Journalists who felt sorry for me gave me the number of a Human rights activist lawyer. I called him.
He was extremely sorry for me. He said he will try his best to take us out from Sri Lanka and would talk to international authorities. I quickly searched for him on the internet and found out that he was genuine.
In the beginning he was very positive as the time passed by he sounded less positive.
We separate from our mother
On 14th October 2013 our mother left for UNHCR. It was after more than 5 months of hiding. Me and my sister Amala shifted to Wahida’s house in Wella Watta.
She came back empty handed to the empty house. UNHCR did not help. There was no sign of help!
My mother in the police Station
While departing from my mother I forgot to give her money. I carried all in my purse. She had little money with her so she wanted to go to the detention camp as Food was free there. She went to the Colopetia police Station and asked them to send her to the detention camp. They immediately talked to the immigration authorities and refused her. One of the police officer said.
“Your daughter wanted to become Malala?”
Another said “why don’t you become our cook?”
I was worried about my mom and I called her and later spoke to the police officer. He said,
“Why are you writing that SIS is after you. I am the in charge of your case in Colopetiya police station and there is no such thing in it.”
My mom was penniless. She kept asking for money. There were many in Sri Lanka who offered money and help to me on the internet. I contacted them. When they came to know I was not there no one came to help my mother.
Friendly Lawyer sends Rs.10000 to my mother
I wanted to shift my mother from Shoaib’s room to another location. I was worried that UNHCR will fail her and Immigration will deport her. I requested the Human rights lawyer to send 10000 rupees to my mother. He did that. My mother shifted to Nuwara Eliya to the same family with whom we had earlier stayed. Their rest house was expensive so they moved my mother to a private house of an old couple which is out of the city.
I have lices in my hair
Wahida’s room was not very private and we had to keep it closed all the time. Wash room was outside. There were lots of insects in the room. All of a sudden I found myself scratching my head all the time. My sister checked it and told me that I have insects in my hair. I was very worried about the lices but definitely there were more worries in the pipeline
Police comes to our rented place
It was around 10 o’ clock in the morning when Wahida came to our room and all of a sudden demanded my passport. I tried to delay her but she said “No give me now. Police is on the gate”. I was horrified and started searching my purse in confusion. She left the room. We quickly took our laptop and some very important things. I told Wahida I have left my passport in my aunt’s home in Colopetia. I will get it and will be back in 10 minutes. She said “be quick”. We made our way to the gate (the only exit). Not knowing what will happen next.
There was only one police man at the gate. We came out. I was wearing a burqa and my face was fully covered. My sister was dressed up as a boy. He did not take us for foreigners and did not stop us. We were out from the place never to go back.
Out from Wahida’s house in search of new place
We went to an area far away from Wella wata. I had a lot of headache. We went to a restaurant and had tea. When we came back to our senses we started worrying where to go next?
I called the Human rights lawyer and told him everything. I requested him to arrange a place for us to live. He agreed and said “let me talk to someone.” I was alarmed.
I was not ready to trust any other “someone.”
Exhausted we went to Petta and got into a bus. We came to --------- city.
With the help of a taxi driver (3 wheeler) We found a reasonable place. It was a beautiful small room in a rest house with attached bath and a small area to be used as a kitchen. The lady owner of the place gave me a piece of paper to write down my name and passport number. It was done.
Now we were broken and exhausted. My sister told me that I was jerking every minute at night. I noticed my sister was sleep talking. She talked about emails, Embassies, UNHCR and countries. It was so painful to see the child worried even while she slept.
We were walking dead.
Giving up was not an option. With our souls injured, we continued our campaign on the internet.
I Cut myself to get help
It was November 2013. We were blue with troubles. Committing suicide was a beautiful option but the fear of God overcame. I did not want to lose my eternal life. I decided to carry on with my heavy yoke.
I thought of cutting my hand in a live YouTube video to be known and to be helped. I tried many times but the sight of the blade was scary. Finally I did that. My little sister helplessly watched as I cut myself.
There are many who know I did other painful things to save our life.
UNHCR local staff stood by their Government
During all this time I kept on begging UNHCR Sri Lanka to give us asylum. They did not attend my calls for one long year. The only person I spoke to was the operator. I kept writing emails to them and kept begging them to help us but to no avail. UNHCR local staff draws salaries from UN but works for their Government.
UNHCR new RSD officer gives me Asylum
It was 29th November 2013. I got an email from UNHCR RSD officer Ilija Todorovic. He was newly transferred to UNHCR Sri Lanka. I never heard of him. He asked me to contact him.
I was expecting a usual demand of paying a visit to the office. I knew UNHCR had decided my case negatively. I had no wish to go and collect the negative decision and be caught by the immigration authorities.
I sat helplessly on the floor and called him. He said
“We have taken your decision Come to the office to collect your certificate”. I replied,
“I don’t want the certificate I want asylum”.
I heard him saying “I am giving you asylum” I did not believe my ears and repeated. “What you are giving me asylum”
I was overjoyed. I looked at my sister’s shining face. I was crying and could not speak properly. It was the happiest moment of my life.
New year & a new place to go
In January again something came up and we shifted to another city. All of a sudden lady owner of the house realized that I was not keeping the place clean. She said I should leave by 1st January. She also informed me if I could pay 40000 a month we can continue to stay. She said its tourist season and she was expecting double of the rent I was paying…
While others were preparing for New Year we were looking for a place to live.
A taxi driver took me to a nearby house. It belonged to an old couple. I paid the advance money for the month. Next day came to know that the house owner was a retired police man. He also demanded that I should show him our original passports and give him a copy of my passport.
With the asylum certificate in my purse I did not tremble. Next day I told him, “Something has come up. My aunty is arriving from Canada. We must go to Colombo….. Can I have my refund?
He did not return my money and we left.
We came to another city and now live with a couple.
My mother gets asylum
My mother got asylum in Feburary 2014. It was again the new RSD officer Ilija todorovic who delivered justice to my mother despite lot of resistance from his local staff.
I have still not gone to UNHCR office. I am waiting every minute for the return of our passports. I want to come out from the painful life of hiding and leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible.
Now passports are no more a travel document for us but it is a guarantee of freedom from Pak Loyal Lankan Government.
I love Sri Lankan people who accommodated us with care while their authorities were looking for us.