Mumbai, Oct 16: "Atithi Devo Bhava" means 'The guest is equivalent to God' and it is the tagline of Incredible India campaign that promotes tourism. Two days back, it was reported that Mumbaikars raised funds for the treatment of a 16-year-old girl, Saba Tariq Ahmed who was suffering from a rare genetic disorder, Wilson's disease.
But unfortunately, Mumbai turned its back for six people of a Karachi-based Pakistani family and they were forced to spent a night at a footpath in Mumbai, when they were refused by hotels and lodges.
According to reports, the family members including three women and a seven-year-old boy had come to Mumbai to visit Haji Ali Dargah to pray for their 12-year-old mentally challenged son on Wednesday, Oct 14.
They arrived in India on Sunday, Oct 4 on a 40-day visa and were staying in Jodhpur at their relatives' house. They reached Mumbai Central Railway Station by Suryanagri Express from Jodhpur.
After visiting Haji Ali Dargah, they could not arrange to return to their relatives place in Jodhpur. Left with no option, they decided to spent a night at a pavement.
The Pakistani family members also wanted to meet Bollywood actor Salman Khan in Mumbai.
Shakeel Ahmed told that he ran from pillar to post at dozens of lodges and hotels in South Mumbai, but no one agreed to accommodate them, as they were Pakistanis.
He further lamented that why they could not check into any hotel, even when they had valid visas.
While sharing his bitter experience, Shakeel said that they just want to leave and reach home as early as possible. [Aamir Khan becomes the brand ambassador for "Atithi Devo Bhava" Campaign]
A sub-inspector of Railway Police Force (RPF) provided some succour to the family of six members after they reached the Mumbai Central Railway Station on Wednesday.
"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 yesterday, Chauhan said.
The dejected family left for Jodhpur via Loksatti Express (from Bandra Terminus) by cancelling their earlier return tickets for Oct 18, on Thursday, Oct 15.