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Govinda and Jamuna must stay

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We, the undersigned, ask the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon Theresa May MP, to grant Govinda Prasad Pokharel and Jamuna Rijal  [H.O. Case Ref : P1196938] leave to remain in the UK on compassionate grounds.

Govinda and Jamuna (aka Samuel and Ruth) are a young married couple from Nepal, who are now seeking sanctuary in the UK. They were previously in supported (NASS) accommodation in Ardwick, Manchester, and since April 2011 have been held at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre in Bedford after their claim for asylum was rejected. They are attempting to provide fresh evidence of their claim for asylum, which highlights how their lives would be endangered were they to be returned to Nepal.

Govind was involved in politics in his country with the Nepal Communist (Maoist) Party but an underground armed political organisation called the “Madheshi Virus Killer Party” (MVKP) wanted him to join them. They threatened that they would kill them both if they didn't join in their struggle, donate a large sum of money to them and also regularly give them 60% of Jamuna’s monthly earnings from Nursing. Govinda and Jamuna and all of Govinda's family have been displaced and relocated to Kathmandu. Govinda and Jamuna hid themselves for three months, rarely going out in public during that time. The police have informed them they are unable to provide the continual protection they need. Sadly this was proven very recently, when the MVKP tracked down Govinda’s younger brother to Kathmandu, badly beat him up, and left him for dead because he would not give them information as to Govinda and Jamuna’s whereabouts. He was found by local people and taken to hospital but it has left him in traction with a broken Femur and Humerus.

In September 2009, Jamuna was accepted onto a course in the UK to continue training as a nurse - the profession she held in Nepal – with Govinda as her dependent. About halfway through this training, a retired immigration officer advised them they needed to apply for Asylum, a procedure they had never heard of before. They took the officer's advice, but immigration judges have questioned why they lodgded an asylum application quite late after arriving in the UK. Additionally, the Judges have continually questioned Govinda and Jamuna’s credibility in regard to the evidence they have provided and told them that they can safely relocate to Kathmandu.

Since arriving in the UK, Govinda and Jamuna met up with some Nepali Christians in Ashford, Kent in April 2010 and after observing the sincerity of their Christian example over a number of weeks, have committed themselves to the Christian faith. Following their move to Manchester they have found a spiritual home at Coverdale Baptist Church in Ardwick. Members of the congregation there have come to love and accept them, and everyone, including the Minister himself, who knows them well enough can testify to their genuine faith, such that they were accepted as candidates for Baptism and were baptised 2nd January 2011. In addition to the political persecution Govinda and Jamuna have faced in their home nation, their conversion to Christianity would create further problems for them. Nepal has historic problems of persecution toward Christians, particularly from extremist Hindu groups. In recent years alone, churches have been bombed, and Christian converts have lived in fear of their lives and safety.

Since Govinda and Jamuna were taken into detention with a view to imminent removal to Nepal, several of their friends from Coverdale Church and in the area of Ardwick hired a solicitor to file for a judicial review of their case. Attempts made to grant them temporary release to stay with Harry's family in Ardwick have been denied as the UK Border Agency is pushing for as swift a review as possible. If it is unsuccessful, Govinda and Jamuna would face imminent removal. As of current, the solicitor is attempting to obtain evidence of their claim from the relevant police authorities in Nepal.

Govinda and Jamuna are consistently good, upright, honest, friendly, polite and respectful people who have warmed the hearts of their new family at Coverdale and many in the wider community in Ardwick. They both had respectable, professional lives in Nepal before they left, and we feel they have much to contribute in terms of their skills and experience. Were they to be forcibly returned to Nepal, their lives would most certainly be in danger.

Please act now to address this unjust situation.

Yours sincerely,
The Undersigned


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