अंतर्राष्ट्रीय

Punjabi women, children seen crossing border fence, possibly US, in video clips

COURTESY TOI JULY 22

Punjabi women, children seen crossing border fence, possibly US, in video clips
IP.Singh@timesgroup.com


A grab from a video which shows a Punjabi family crossing the US-Mexico border

Jalandhar:

A month-and-ahalf after six-year-old Gurupreet Kaur, from a village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district, died due to heat stroke in Arizona desert while attempting to illegally cross over into the US via Mexico with her mother, two more video clips have emerged in which Punjabi men and women are seen crossing a border fence along with their children.


This new trend involving women and children trying to cross into the US via Mexico has emerged recently even as Punjabi men routinely have been taking huge risks in their desperate attempts to reach abroad.

Several young Punjabi men have lost their lives and even more have landed in jails and other hellish conditions and returned home as they could not reach their destinations. This trend of women and young children being taken through same risky routes is worrying.


A video grab of women and children crossing border fence

North American Punjabi Association executive director Satnam Singh Chahal, who had earlier sought information about Indian asylum seekers from US authorities or the Indian detainees in jails under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), said though women were there among the Indian asylum seekers in US but taking along children through risky routes was an entirely new phenomena.

“If these videos reflect the desperation of Punjabi families to reach abroad along with their kids, they also reflect very poorly on the governments back home. These videos also show hopelessness and complete lack of faith among people in the governments,” he said.

Elements of desperation and haste are clearly palpable in the latest video clips, said to be shot at the Mexico-US border, as men, women and children are seen crossing the fence.

The fence has a passage, close to ground, that provides enough space through which a person of normal girth can sneak in. In both the clips, the people crossing over are heard speaking in Punjabi, including a woman who says: “Mein taan langh nahin sakdee (I can’t cross)” as she looks at the narrow passage. However, she is seen crossing in the next few moments after two children and two men pass through.

They are seen crossing while local traffickers help them by showing the way and saying goodbye after the cross-over. In one clip, a woman carrying her young son is seen rushing towards the fence. A male companion also crosses with two bags.

In the second clip, two girls appearing to be around 10 years old, two women and three men, including two turbaned, cross the fence. The members of the group appear to be closely related and passionately help each other when they cross the barbed wire and help children to go to the other side. The local traffickers issue them instructions in single words — “go”, “slow”, “bye”.

More than crossing the narrow passage, it seems to be tough to cross the barbed wire which is seen pulled down and lying on the ground. Both the clips have already being shared widely on social media.

A few days after Gurupreet Kaur’s death, a video clip of the group of which she and her mother were part of, had gone viral in June.

The video had revealed there were at least three women in that group including two with their daughters apart from around half-a-dozen young men. In that clip, they were seen alighting a bus and running into the desert. It is clear that the three videos seem to have been shot by the local traffickers

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