The Uttar Pradesh administration was left speechless when it came to find that an alleged Pakistani citizen had served as interim head of the village panchayat in the Jalesar block in Etah. Bano Begum, from Karachi, has been living in India for the past 40 years and is married to a local man from the district.
“Bano Begum was removed from the pradhan gram post and a probe was ordered. Police have also been asked to file a FIR against Bano Begum, “said Alok Priyadarshi, an officer in the Etah panchayati raj (DPRO) district.
The district magistrate for Etah Sukhlal Bharti ordered an investigation to find out how the woman received the Aadhaar card and other documents that open the way for her to be elected as a member of the gram panchayat and then became the interim pradhan of the village of Etah.
Bano Begum, 65, came to India from Pakistan to visit relatives in Etah about 35-40 years ago. Then he married a local Akhtar Ali and since then he has been staying in Etah with a long-term visa. She has often applied for Indian citizenship.
The issue became public when a villager filed a complaint against Bano Begum, claiming to be a Pakistani citizen.
“During the 2015 local elections, Bano Begum was elected a member of the Guadau gram panchayat. Gram pradhan Shehnaz Begum died on January 9, 2020. After Shehnaz’s death, the village committee discussed the issue and asked Bano Begum to take over as interim gram pradhan, “said DPRO Alok Priyadarshi.
Strict action will be taken against those found guilty of aiding Bano Begum, the officer said.