Help pours in for abandoned Indian boy in Bahrain

Dubai, Sep 12: A 10-year-old boy, longing to unite with his Indian father after being abandoned in Bahrain without any passport, has found support from many quarters including the Indian embassy in the Gulf nation.

Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty has taken initiative to help the boy, Raja, and has personally taken charge of the investigations into the matter, according to the Bahrain Tribune.

Raja's mother, a Sri Lankan citizen had abandoned him when he was just two. His father, Teni Prasad, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, supported Raja doing odd jobs.

However, Prasad too had to later leave Bahrain when his Bahraini sponsor handed him over to police, leaving the child all alone in the Gulf nation without any passport. He has been living in different homes ever since.

Raja's plight first came to light through a Bahrain Tribune report. The newspaper's office has since been flooded with calls from readers offering financial and other help to the boy.

Speaking to the Tribune, Raja had just one thing to say: "I just want to get back with my dad!"

When contacted in Uttar Pradesh, Prasad told the newspaper: "It's hard for a father to see his son in this condition. I never thought things would take a U-turn.

"I was a heavy drinker and admit that I did not care about the future of my son. He has been brought up by me and I enrolled him in private classes in the neighbourhood," he said, adding that it was tough for him to afford Raja's education, as he was a single parent doing odd jobs.

"I was sleeping in the room when my sponsor stormed in and handed me to the cops. My son had to witness the entire episode and I am ashamed of myself," he said.

He said that Raja's mother never tried to contact him after leaving him.

"I requested the authorities to send my son along with me but my appeals fell on deaf ears. I am concerned about my child and want him back with me and request the embassy to help Raja as he does not possess a passport."

The Indian ambassador pointed out that the case was complicated since the mother was not an Indian citizen.

"We need to establish the child's paternity clearly to give him an Indian passport which is equivalent to giving him the Indian citizenship. It is a multi-layered effort and we are keen to fast-track the process in light of the humanitarian aspect it represents," Shetty told the newspaper.

The father might have to undergo a DNA test to prove his paternity. Once the paternity is established, the embassy will contact the Sri Lankan consular representative in Bahrain to establish that the mother has not approached her government for a passport for her son.

The father will be able to fill in the official forms for his son's passport only after that.

Volunteers of the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS), an NGO that has also been receiving calls from people offering financial help to adoption, have offered to help authorities in the paperwork required to grant Raja his citizenship