Families’ tug-of-love for abandoned boy
A Sikh boy who was abandoned by his mother in London may complete a year in foster care by the time he is returned to relatives in the Punjab. A dispute has broken out about who he should live with.
A year seems the likely time-frame after a spokesman for Ealing Council reported that it could be two months yet before a High Court hearing reviews long-term arrangements for Gurinder Singh’s care.
The boy made national headlines when he was left wandering the streets of Southall in March last year, just nine years of age. Discovered sitting in a clinic and speaking only Punjabi, he said he had been left at a bus stop by an uncle. He believed had been in England for about three years.
Investigations suggest that his mother was an illegal immigrant to the UK from France and is now back in France. His father is thought to be an illegal immigrant now living in Germany.
Ealing social services say that DNA checks confirm a match between Gurinder and Punjabi farmer Kuldeep Singh, who says he is an uncle and lives in Hoshiarpur district, 100 miles from Chandigarh.
The court leaned in favour of sending Gurinder there and he was reportedly keen to go but his departure may be delayed by a dispute between Mr Singh, who is a paternal uncle, and his nephew’s maternal family in Jalalabad, also in Hoshiarpur, who have entered the picture asking for custody.
Mohinder Singh, who is the boy’s maternal grandfather, said his family would fight to bring the boy home. He said Gurinder’s sister Navjit Kaur, 13, lived with the family and was waiting to be reunited with her brother.
Mr Singh said the boy’s mother was missing.
Kuldeep Singh said no-one else had any claim on Gurinder. “Where was this family when the boy was found abandoned last year?” he asked.
After Gurinder was rescued from the streets several families in India laid claim to the youngster. A Bihar couple said he could be their son Sintu, who was kidnapped in 2005.
The Punjabi community in London held urgent talks with Ealing and Southall MP Virendra Sharma at Sri Guru Sabha Gurdwara in Southall – shocked by the possibility that they were looking at “child dumping”. Mr Sharma called it a worrying factor for a community that had no history of child abandonment.
Equally shocking for the community was a police statement that child trafficking was one line of enquiry.
Gurinder said he came to Southall with his uncle and a white man in his 30s and stayed in a three-bedroom house watching television.
Last year Kuldeep Singh named his brother Mohinder Singh as Gurinder’s father and said he was estranged from the boy’s mother Deepinder Kaur. He said the couple were involved in divorce proceedings in Hoshiarpur.
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