A Pakistani family which arrived in Mumbai to visit the Haji Ali 'dargah' to pray for their mentally challenged son was refused accommodation by several hotels in the city following which they spent the night on a pavement.
A sub-inspector of Railway Police Force (RPF) provided some succour to the family of around five members after they reached the Mumbai Central Railway Station on Wednesday but the family failed to find accommodation in any hotel or lodge, its senior inspector R K Arya said.
On October 4, the Pakistani family had arrived in India on a 40-day visa. On Wednesday afternoon, they reached Mumbai Central Railway Station by Suryanagri Express from Jodhpur. Their ordeal began soon as they were refused accommodation by several lodges and hotels which they approached in South Mumbai.
"The only reason for refusal by lodges and hotels was that they (hotels) didn't want to complete the formality of filling 'Form-C', which is to be submitted to a government department if people from outside the country come to the city on visa and stay in their lodges and hotels," said RPF sub-inspector Mahesh Chauhan, who helped the family in their time of distress.
"They also said that the owners of the lodges and hotels told them that they were very small establishments and have no manpower to do the extra work of filling and submitting the Form-C," he said.
After checking and verifying the family's documents, Chauhan took them to a cabin at Mumbai Central Police Station, located just outside the railway station, and told them to rest for sometime, besides offering them tea and snacks, Arya said.
The family stayed near the police cabin till around 1-1.30 am on Thursday, Chauhan said. They spent rest of the time sitting on a pavement outside the railway station before heading back to Jodhpur.
Due to their experience in the city, the family cut short its trip and left on Thursday. The family members told Chauhan that they had arrived in the city to visit the Haji Ali dargah to pray for their 12-year-old son who was mentally challenged. They visited the dargah on Thursday and later left for Jodhpur via Loksatti Express (from Bandra Terminus) by cancelling their earlier return tickets for October 18, the sub-inspector said.