Father tries to cash in on daughter’s fame

Posted: April 19, 2009 in social issues
Tags: , , , , ,

It is unfortunate that the poverty-stricken father of Slumdog Millionaire child actor Rubina Ali planned to become a millionaire by selling his nine-year-old daughter. Rafiq Qureshi had put Rubina up for an adoption, demanding £200,000. He offered the shocking deal to the News of the World’s undercover fake sheik: “I have to consider what’s best for me, my family and Rubina’s future.” He also tried to blame Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for sale and declared: “We’ve got nothing out of this film.”

Rubina with dad Rafiq

Rubina with dad Rafiq

Rafiq clever and knows that his daughter’s success will be soon forgotten and her moment of fame will be over. A Middle East family was moved to tears by the plight of young orphans shown in the film and fell in love with Rubina. They reportedly wanted to adopt children from poor areas and give them a better life. They agreed to come to Mumbai to discuss the adoption of Rubina in May.

The approach by reporters in the guise of sheikhs made Rafiq very greedy and he said that he will consider the highest offer for his child.

Rafiq’s brother-in-law Rajan More told reporters in the guise: “Obviously if you wanted to adopt we could discuss this, but her parents would also expect some proper compensation in return. We are talking of around £50,000 for this to happen.”

In another phone call, Rafiq coolly confirmed: “Whatever you have discussed with Rajan, I agree with. Whatever money is agreed by Rajan, I will accept.”

Poverty haunts India and spares none, especially those who live in slums. Trafficking of poor Indian children to the Middle East, where they are forced to risk their lives as camel jockeys or subjected to sexual abuse, is common in the Mumbai slums. But that did not deter Rafiq. Rubina told reporters in the guise of wealthy people: “I like being famous. Everyone where I live knows me and likes me now. Some people who I don’t even know shout my name wherever I go — ‘Rubina, Rubina’!”

Rubina was completely unaware she was put for sale by the men she trusted, those who should love and protect her.

Rajan even said that no deal could go ahead for a few weeks because the family have been promised a house by the Indian government. If Rubina went abroad they would lose the house. The governing Indian Congress president Sonia Gandhi has vowed to help them find a home.

It is unfortunate but a fact that buying a child in India is almost as easy as buying vegetables and fruits. These  children often end up as child labourers or even prostitutes. It is easy to condemn parents willing to sell their kids but have we ever thought about the circumstances pushing them to sell their children?

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