Mumbai: Mother sells assets to bring abducted children back from Africa

Apr 08, 2017, 06:01 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Navi Mumbai resident compelled to sell possessions to get her children back from Mozambique; kids alone after their father was arrested for their abduction

Somiya Yunus Basar at her residence in Seawoods. File pic
Somiya Yunus Basar at her residence in Seawoods. File pic

This isn't a movie. It's as real a tragedy as can get. A mother who hasn't seen her children for the last eight months is selling all her assets to rescue them from an unknown land they are stuck in.

Navi Mumbai resident Somiya Yunus Basar (32) has been struggling to see her three children who were allegedly forcibly taken to Mozambique by her ex-husband after their divorce. Now, after her husband's arrest, she is leaving no stone unturned to get the three, aged 11, 10 and 3, back home.

Knocking on all doors
A British citizen, Abdul Gaffar Abdul Majid Tarmahomed, Basar's husband was arrested in South Africa last month when on a business visit for smuggling their children to Mozambique. So far, his bail request has been rejected twice.

The children are all alone, dependent on a maid in Abdul's father's house in Mozambique. Basar, already struggling financially, has been trying to arrange for visa, for the three.

"My former husband's bail has been rejected twice. April 6 was his birthday, which he had to spend behind bars for violating court orders. Even if he gets bail, he won't be able to leave South Africa for the next six months. My three children are at the mercy of a maid. I have no option but to reach Mozambique at the earliest; it involves several risks, but I am ready to face anything," she said.

Basar has written several emails to the Ministry of External Affairs, the High Commission of India and explained various other official channels, but so far, there has been no help.

"They claim that as the children are not Indians, they can't provide help. But, I am an Indian citizen whose three innocent children are stuck in an unknown land; shouldn't the government come forward to help?" she asked.

A tiny ray of hope
Farhat Ali Khan, a city-based human rights activist, who is helping Basar, said the High Commissioner of India in Mozambique, Rudra Gaurav Shresht, has assured to provide her security during her stay in the country. The emails exchanged are in possession of mid-day.

"I have to hold on to hope, I refuse to give up on my children. They do not deserve to be in this unjust situation. As their mother, I won't stop trying till they are returned to me," she said.


Basar and Tarmahomed had an arranged marriage in 2004; she then moved to Mozambiq­ue with him. The union turned bitter when her mother-in-law allegedly started assaulting her. In 2007, she moved out to a flat in a family-run factory. In 2009, Tarmahomed was cut off from the family business for allegedly not leaving Basar.

In 2013, they moved to Johannes­burg. During an altercation in 2015, Tarmahomed divorced her and got the divorce docu­ments from the Muslim Judi­cial Council. But, they don't men­tion the children's custody, owing to which the two ended up in court within a month for a bitter battle. The court gran­ted Basar the children's custo­dy, with the father getting visi­tation rights.

On August 19 last year, he took them out, promi­sing to bring them back the ne­xt day. After he failed to turn up, the South African Police Service issued an arrest warr­ant against him; they found he had crossed over into Mozam­bique from the porous border of Lebombo on August 20.

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