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Bbc Article On Sikh Homeless


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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17183171

The illegal immigrants desperate to escape squalor of Britain

By Chris RogersBBC News

They came to Britain illegally in search of a better life, but the reality turned out to be far removed from what they dreamed of.

The BBC has spoken to illegal immigrants who find themselves living amongst rats and rubbish in makeshift garden sheds and garages. They want to be deported back to India, but many are trapped in a bureaucratic no man's land without any documents.

Jagdeesh pulls away a piece of cardboard revealing a tiny hole in a concrete wall. He invites me to climb through, declaring: "This is my home, come in."

As I crawl into the derelict garage in west London, the torchlight reveals half the roof is missing, a floor littered with rubbish, and rats scurrying away.

The 22-year-old illegal immigrant jumps on to a mattress in the corner. His makeshift bed is protected from the elements by plastic sheeting.

Jagdeesh's family paid £10,000 to traffickers who promised a better life and smuggled him from India to Britain with dozens of others in the back of a lorry.

Voluntary returns

"I was told that life was good here. It's not just me, other boys came for work," he says. "You can see what state we're in, there's no work, no government help."

Jagdeesh has cut himself off from his family, saying he is ashamed of his failure to find work and would rather they thought he was dead than knew he was living in filth.

"They sold land and took out loans to get me out of India. What can I say to my family back home? The money we've invested is lost," he says.

Out of work, penniless and 4,000 miles from home, Jagdeesh has handed himself in for deportation.

Voluntary departures from the UK to all countries have risen steadily over the past six years, from 335 in 2005 to 15,537 in 2010, before falling to 12,879 in 2011, Home Office figures show.

It is barely dawn as Jagdeesh and hundreds of other illegal immigrants from India descend on a car park outside Southall train station in west London.

They stand in silence, shivering in the bitter cold. This car park was once a busy pick-up point for cheap illegal workers before the work slowed down in the economic downturn.

It is mid-morning by the time a van swings into the car park. Suddenly dozens of men rush towards the driver's window offering their skills, shouting above each other.

"I make a good plumber," shouts one. "I work hard boss, 12 hours for £20," shouts another.

Several men scramble for a place in the back of the van, pushing others out of the way, then the van speeds off. For those left behind, there will be no more offers of work that day.

Surinder, 33, also from Southall, arrived in the UK more than 10 years ago. There was a time when he made £300 a week working six days as a heating engineer, but he is now living in the poverty he came here to escape.

He heads back to the home he shares with several other illegal immigrants - a tiny, poorly constructed building in his landlord's garden. Inside, there are three beds and a cooking area.

"We can barely make ends meet. It's been two months and we've only worked four days, what can we do?" he says.

He throws his work overalls on to a scruffy sofa as if to show his frustration.

"We have to pay the landlords, there are four or five us, and so we club together to pay it."

The rent is £800 a month. Landlords appear to be prepared to risk housing illegal immigrants for an inflated price.

They have been told not to open the door to anyone in case they are planning or immigration officials, but we obtained access by posing as volunteers offering food and blankets.

The immigrants complain of damp, cramped conditions, but being exploited by their own people angers them most.

"Our people who are here legally, permanent residents, who've made homes here, they've paid for their houses because of us," Jandeep says angrily.

"Their mortgages are paid because they charge a high rent. Everyone who lives here is Punjabi."

Row after row of terraced houses in this predominantly Asian area of west London are housing illegal immigrants in back gardens, creating slum-like areas.

Local councils estimate there are 10,000 sheds concealed from view across London and the Home Counties, lining networks of alleyways.

'Satellite images'

Council planning officers and immigration agencies are using satellite images to document them.

But Ealing Council, which is responsible for the area we visited, is calling on the government for greater powers to inspect these buildings.

Local councils often have to give 24 hours' notice to landlords and tenants for inspection, which gives them plenty of time to clear evidence.

Sheds with beds are the last resort for migrant workers. Surinder plans to head back to India before he ends up on the street, even if he has to pay traffickers to help him.

"If I don't go back while I still have some money, it's over for me, then it's drink, drugs and no way home," he says.

We found many homeless communities sheltering in blankets and boxes in Southall under a network of motorway and canal bridges.

But like many illegal immigrants, they are stuck in a bureaucratic no man's land. Their traffickers instructed them to destroy their identity papers to make deportation difficult.

Now they are pleading to be sent back to India, but without their ID the process is slow.

Many have slipped into a destructive cycle of alcohol and drug abuse. Jaspal, 21, was jailed for shoplifting and is now back on the streets and back on heroin.

"I want to go back, they arrest me and I tell them 'Send me back', but they won't - because I have no passport - even though I spent one year in prison," he says.

"I can't sleep outside without drugs and I can't turn to my family for help. They spent thousands sending me here. It will cause too much tension."

Then Jaspal climbs under his blanket for one last hit to get him through the night.

Their only source of food and clothing comes from a local charity, the Sikh Welfare Awareness Team.

"They seem to be growing in number, the situation is getting worse but they have no choice but to live on the streets," says volunteer Randeep Lall.

"Their cases have been logged with the UKBA, but the Indian High Commission is dragging its feet. It's disgusting they are being left to live like this. It's a mess."

The UK Border Agency admits establishing the identity of illegal immigrants in order to issue them with emergency travel documentation can be complex.

A spokesman told the BBC: "The time it takes to obtain these documents varies and we continue to work with the High Commission of India to speed up this process."

Buta, who is in his 30s, has been waiting for three years. Each morning he cleans his teeth using a fresh water tap in the local cemetery.

Barely sober, he makes his way to Southall train station hoping to get work - he will take any wage to buy his next drink.

"I'd rather God took me, then I'd be okay. Nobody listens to me... I have nothing left to live for."

Edited by SURYADEV
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If I burnt my passport would it be possible to get deported somewhere sunny?

I've often thought about that.

I can burn all my ID paperwork, sell everything in my name, close all my accounts, take out massive loans/mortgages.debts. Then hand myself into the POlice or Border agency giving false name/details and where I'm from and Voila! I've got a new ID and they wont/cant deport me anywhere.

Think its a good plan?

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I've often thought about that.

I can burn all my ID paperwork, sell everything in my name, close all my accounts, take out massive loans/mortgages.debts. Then hand myself into the POlice or Border agency giving false name/details and where I'm from and Voila! I've got a new ID and they wont/cant deport me anywhere.

Think its a good plan?

Not really. They'll look through missing persons lists if you say you're from the UK. They might even do a campaign to see if anyone knows you. If someone comes forward you're in trouble.

My plan was to just turn up to a police station and call myself Pedro, get exported to some exotic South American country where the sun always shines. Great plan, eh?

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Not really. They'll look through missing persons lists if you say you're from the UK. They might even do a campaign to see if anyone knows you. If someone comes forward you're in trouble.

My plan was to just turn up to a police station and call myself Pedro, get exported to some exotic South American country where the sun always shines. Great plan, eh?

Oh no I wouldn't say I'm a brit. I'll just say that i'm from India. As per procedure they'll contact the Indian High Comm to check/prove my background. this in itself can take years. During that time I'll get 'leave to stay' and get a job here and start afresh.

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But on a serious note. We have seen the half-hearted efforts by the TV channels and gurdwaras to 'help' these guys. The situation is dire.

Now what is there that we as individuals can do to help these guys???????

Only two years ago when thousands of 'students' came from India there was quite a lot done by Sikh establishment here when there were problems wiht girls forced into prostitution, homelessness, colleges commiting fraud etc.

Is it because those students had money that they were worthy of help but these faujis are penniless addicts, so they dont deserve the same attention?!

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Any thoughts anyone??

In all honesty, the most helpful thing you could do is put one (or more) up in your house or in a empty house you may own (for the rich mofos out there).

Edited by dalsingh101
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Thats an idea - if I had a spare house in my property portfolio.

But for someone who doesn't have a spare house or splashing in cash. But has the desire to help. ANything else we can do?

Looking at gurdwaras and sikh institutions I'm quite disillusioned with them.

Is this problem only London specific or does it affect the Midlands/north?

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Thats an idea - if I had a spare house in my property portfolio.

But for someone who doesn't have a spare house or splashing in cash. But has the desire to help. ANything else we can do?

Looking at gurdwaras and sikh institutions I'm quite disillusioned with them.

Really? I was sort of pleasantly surprised that the old babay were finally taking their heads out of their arses and attempting some social work.

Is this problem only London specific or does it affect the Midlands/north?

It wouldn't surprise me if this kind of stuff was happening (to a greater or lesser extent) in all areas with a sizeable Sikh community.

Anyway watch this, helping itself is not without it's problems:

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I remember a singh who used to frequent Bebe Nanaki Gurd in handsworth about 4-5 years ago. He used to do a fair bit of seva there several days a week. He would tell me of how the old ladies there would moan about these 'indians' who would come over illegally and take the jobs from the 'native british indians' and come to temples for free langar! (Bear in mind that this is in a temple that is famous for its charity work. What irony.)

I 'm sure that type of attitude infects the committee walas too.

It seems to me that whatever the gurdwaras do/have done is too little, too late. The fact that the mainstream british media and population know about this attests to that fact. Whatever the babas at the gurdwaras are doing is just playing 'catchup' and to save face.

I like that clip you showed. he mentioned what always happens in our community regarding change. Its always the small teams of individuals to 'pick up the baton' and do something

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I don't know man. We don't seem too have social inclinations (which is pretty lame considering our Guru's actions - gareeb niwaaz).

We DO have heavy levels of denial in our community on a hundred and one issues. The shocking thing is that even being educated and intelligent doesn't even seem to help some people overcome this.

As a small start, I thought at least people like us on this forum can get a bit more honest about things.

The big question to ask is 'why?'

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Politics in punjab primiarily Sikh ethnic cleansing with all the people comming here they are all Sikh if you look at punjab loads of Hindus live there and the Hindus are not facing these problems the government of India is showing huge impartiality even to Moneh sikh, this is a means to stamp out Sikhism entirely and to destroy Sikhi from it's path something Nehru and Gandhi started and progressed through the RSS, Congress, BJP. Sikhs have shaked and removed two empires the Mughals and British who tried to shake them it seems we need to shake the entire congress regime and implement an entirely new political elite who will work with the Sikhs.

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Sikh channel, bhangal, etc all claim to wanting to help these people. BUT they can't and to be honest, they are only coming forward to look good, and generate more money for themselves. Thats the bitter truth. Their solution is to send them back home. They don't want to go home, thats not what they came here for. They came here for money, by selling their land, taking out loans, etc. They don't want to go back.

I know many many illegal boys and girls, who work and are staying, upto 30 in one house. BUT if you don't work, then your fellow Pind valey will only put up with you for so long, then you are out on the streets.

if I had the money, I would help all of them. sadly, some turn to drugs, not because they want to, its the crowd.

Most people don't care, period. They only care about themselves and their own familes. No crime in that, people have everyright to do what they want.

forget these homeless. We don't and never have helped the Sikh familes destroyed during 1984.

Its time to put our money where our mouths are, if we care. Otherwise, just put up and shut up. (now I will hear about how people have help, etc)

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Sikh channel, bhangal, etc all claim to wanting to help these people. BUT they can't and to be honest, they are only coming forward to look good, and generate more money for themselves. Thats the bitter truth. Their solution is to send them back home. They don't want to go home, thats not what they came here for. They came here for money, by selling their land, taking out loans, etc. They don't want to go back.

I know many many illegal boys and girls, who work and are staying, upto 30 in one house. BUT if you don't work, then your fellow Pind valey will only put up with you for so long, then you are out on the streets.

if I had the money, I would help all of them. sadly, some turn to drugs, not because they want to, its the crowd.

Most people don't care, period. They only care about themselves and their own familes. No crime in that, people have everyright to do what they want.

forget these homeless. We don't and never have helped the Sikh familes destroyed during 1984.

Its time to put our money where our mouths are, if we care. Otherwise, just put up and shut up. (now I will hear about how people have help, etc)

Whatever truth there is in what you say, personally I'm glad the issue is being brought to the fore, at least we can't be in denial about it, like we usually are about things.

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