The Uttar Pradesh administration was left red-faced when it came to notice that an alleged Pakistani national has been serving as interim village panchayat head in Jalesar block of Etah. Bano Begum, from Karachi, has been living in India for the last 40 years and is married to a local man in the district.
“Bano Begum has been removed from the post of gram pradhan and a probe has been ordered into the matter. Police have also been asked to file an FIR against Bano Begum,” said Etah district panchayati raj officer (DPRO) Alok Priyadarshi.
District magistrate for Etah Sukhlal Bharti has ordered a probe to find out how the woman got the Aadhaar card and other documents paving way for her getting elected as member of gram panchayat and then becoming the interim pradhan of village in Etah.
Bano Begum, 65, came to India from Pakistan to visit her relatives in Etah about 35-40 years ago. She then married a local Akhtar Ali and had been staying in Etah on a long-term visa since then. She has applied for Indian citizenship many times.
The matter became public when a villager lodged a complaint against Bano Begum, alleging that she was a Pakistani national.
“During 2015 local body election, Bano Begum was elected as a member of Guadau gram panchayat. Gram pradhan Shehnaz Begum died on January 9, 2020. Following 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 helping Bano Begum, said the officer.