A reluctant departure

Published: 23rd September 2012 12:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2012 12:27 PM   |  A+A-


After 10 months of stay at Gandhi Bhavan, Pathanapuram, Emily Beth Witt, who belongs to US, is returning back to her homeland. On Saturday evening, she was send back to California, under the initiative of the External Affairs Ministry and the US Consulate.

The 62-year-old widow was lodged in Gandhi Bhavan by the Kollam East Police on November 17, last year, as a temporary arrangement in consultation with the US Consulate authorities. The East Police had taken her into custody after she was found wandering on the main road.

Though police let her off after verifying her passport and visa documents, she was not ready to leave and showed signs of mental instability. Emily reached Kerala a year ago as a tourist and it was suspected that she suffered a trauma after burglars looted her money.

Attempts to send her back with the help of Malayali Associations failed as she didn’t have many relatives back in California.  She refused to return to the US and expressed her desire to live in India when the Consulate officials met her at the Gandhi Bhavan, a  couple of months ago. Meanwhile, in February, her visa expired and the District Collector asked her to leave the country. Even after repeated warnings, Emily was not ready to return. Subsequently, on March 31, the District Collector directed the City Police Commissioner to take steps to send her back.

The series of procedures that followed led to her deportation. Gandhi Bhavan authorities said that Emily left her temporary asylum in tears.

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