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Between moral & legal: UK threatens Indian woman IN COMA with deportation

Between moral & legal: UK threatens Indian woman IN COMA with deportation
An Indian woman in a coma after surgery has been denied permanent residency in the UK and threatened with deportation. An immigration barrister told RT that, although legally correct, the Home Office’s policies lack flexibility.

Bhavani Esapathi, 31, who arrived in the UK on a student visa, was in a vegetative state when she received a letter from the Home Office stating that her application for ‘leave to remain’, a British term for permanent residency, was rejected.

The woman is currently undergoing treatment for Crohn’s disease, a condition which causes inflammation of the digestive tract and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications.

Esapathi claimed that the specific drug therapy that her illness requires is unavailable in India. The Home Office, however, made clear that Esapathi’s circumstances don’t justify her staying in the country and suggested that she could at least get “palliative care” in India.

The shocking story made some noise in the UK as some politicians and civil rights defenders rushed to dub the official’s actions “insensitive” and “cruel.” Although legally correct, the “pretty standard” response from the Home Office fails to take into account the specific nature of the case, immigration barrister Robert Parkin told RT.

The Home Office takes a very black and white view of these circumstances even in the most extreme cases, there is very little flexibility in the policies which are applied.

It is “surprising” that officials didn’t find grounds for an exemption from immigration rules in this particular case, provided that corresponding provisions can be found in the European Convention on Human Rights, Parkin argues.

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“This lady’s partner is permanently settled in the UK and irrespective of any medical problems one would normally expect to see ‘leave to remain’ ground within those circumstances. So the intention in that regard was confusing to me.”

The decision immediately raised suspicions that the Home Office response to the Indian woman’s misfortune was part of the hostile immigration policy – a strategy announced back in 2012 by the then Home Secretary Theresa May to tackle illegal immigration. The set of rules implied tighter proceedings to get permanent residency status while efforts were made to deny access to jobs, housing, and bank accounts, to those staying illegally.

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Parkin however insists that the Home Office’s response is “very common sort of situation” and is “an implication of the rules which have been in place since the 1990s.”

Meanwhile, surgeons at St Mark’s Hospital, where Esapathi is undergoing therapy, say the patient‘s ”surgical and medical management is highly complex”, according to a letter cited by the Independent.

It is “of vital importance” that her treatment is continued in UK, the doctors maintain. “Deprived of that care it’s very often a death sentence. And that’s the moral dilemma you see,” Parkin added.

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