An incredible tale of possibly the worst date of 2020
Last year, at the start of winter an 18-year-old Gamraram Meghwal tried to take advantage of the early darkness to sneak into his girlfriend’s house. She lives in Kumharon ka Teeba in Barmer, Rajasthan. It was the fourth of November. And as luck would have it, her parents caught him and threatened to report him to his parents. The families knew each other as they were neighbours.
Gamraram took off and ran into the darkness. He was so scared of his parents’ ire that he just kept running until he could run no more. When he finally stopped, he was in Pakistan.
His girlfriend’s parents had in the meanwhile barged into his house and complained to his father. Gamraram’s father Jamaram asked where the boy was. The families then started to look for him. By November 16, Jamaram finally went to Bijrad police station to tell the police he needed to report his son had gone missing.
The Bijrad police launched an investigation and it took them a month to trace the teenager to Pakistan. The police requested the Indian Border Security Force to take up the matter with the Pakistan Rangers.
It emerged that Gamraram had inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side near BP 851 in Umerkot Sector on November 5, 2020. The Indian BSF then asked the Pakistan Rangers to share his whereabouts and they were told that the boy would be released after due process and a decision on his return would be taken according to Pakistani law.
On February 19, the High Commission of India in Islamabad wrote to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take up Gamraram’s case. According to the Indian High Commission, Gamraram was in a Pakistani jail.
SAMAA Digital went hunting for him as well. It emerged that Gamraram was being kept at District Jail Malir. Jail officials said that Gamraram was brought to prison after FIR No 159/2021 was registered at Mithadar police station in Karachi on April 24. Karachi South-XI Additional Session Judge sent him to jail for six months of rigorous imprisonment on August 21, 2021 and fined him Rs10,000. If he can’t pay he has to do fifteen more days.
The FIR said that Gamraram was taken into custody by the Saddar police from Lucky Star, Rafiqui Shaheed Road in Karachi on April 23. The case was registered under Section 3/2(a) read with Section 14 of the Foreigners Act 1946 on the complaint of the Mithadar police station’s Special Branch Inspector Muhammad Haneef. According to the text of the FIR, the Saddar police intercepted him on April 23 while on patrol.
When the police questioned him, they learnt that he identified himself as Gamraram. But he failed to provide proper answers to their questioning on how he had landed there. The police arrested him under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code or CrPC and he was taken to the Special Branch’s Foreigners Registration Office where Inspector Haneef questioned him on his own.
Gamraram told Inspector Haneef that he was an India citizen who belonged to Rajasthan. He entered Pakistan on November 5, 2020 without a visa. The case was handed over to Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Mehfooz Ahmed.
Gamraram was then produced before Karachi South-XIII Judicial Magistrate on April 24. The court remanded him to jail custody till May 7, 2021 and directed the investigating officer to submit a report under Section 173 of the CrPC or charge sheet within time.
On May 8, 2021, the investigating officer submitted the charge sheet before the court. The court accepted it and forwarded the case to another court with jurisdiction for a verdict.
ASI Mehfooz Ahmed, the investigating officer, told SAMAA Digital that Gamraram said he loved a girl who was his neighbor. She called him to her house at night. Ahmed said that Gamraram could not say no but was caught. But when her parents caught them, he ran off in a panic and inadvertently crossed the border. When ASI Ahmed was asked to share details of how the teenager managed to reach Karachi, he replied that Gamraram was transferred from the Special Branch and he could not recall how he reached Karachi.
On August 21, 2021, Gamraram was produced before Karachi South-XI ADJ to be formally charged. The court asked whether he was intending to plead guilty, which he said he did and asked for the minimum punishment. Keeping in view that he was not a habitual criminal and had pleaded guilty voluntarily, the court sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months. He was sent to jail on April 24, 2021. The court directed the authorities to make arrangements to deport him from Pakistan when his sentence is up.