Finally the home ministry relented and agreed to grant Murtaza Rizvi a visa and he was scheduled to come to India on June 30, 2012, before fate intervened in the form of his murderer(s), reports A Ganesh Nadar
For the last two years, Murtaza Rizvi, magazine editor at Pakistan's Dawn group of newspapers, had been trying to get a visa to come to India to meet his relatives from his mother's side who live in Nagpur, Mumbai and Pune, but to no avail.
Finally, after intervention from the Pune-based Sarhad and the Nagpur-based Vanarai, two NGOs that foster cross-border amity, Rizvi was to get a visa in June to come to India.
But that was not to be. On Thursday, April 19, Rizvi was found strangulated to death in his hometown of Karachi, his body showing signs of torture.
Sarhad founder Sanjay Nahar told rediff.com, "I first met him in March 2011 when I visited Pakistan. He told me his mother was from Nagpur and spoke fluent Marathi." Rizvi told Nahar he was very keen on visiting his ancestral village near Nagpur.
Sarhad and Venrai then invited Rizvi to attend the Gandhi Jayanti celebrations in Mumbai last year, following which he applied for an Indian visa but his application was rejected.
Girish Gandhi of Vanarai invited Rizvi to a function in Nagpur that was to be presided over by Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari who too hails from that city. "We also wanted him to meet Anna Hazare, but the government refused to give him a visa at that time," says Gandhi.
Rizvi tried for an Indian visa in January this year, once again with with no luck.
Following this Vanarai, founded by former Union minister Mohan Dharia who was conferred the Indira Gandhi award for national integration last year, wrote to the home minister recommending that Rizvi be given a visa.
Finally the home ministry relented and agreed to grant Rizvi a visa and he was scheduled to come to India on June 30, 2012, before fate intervened in the form of his murderer(s).
Nahar recalls his last conversation with Rizvi about 10 days back. 'I am not confident that they will give me a visa, the Islamabad embassy and the Delhi embassy have always refused. I want to meet my mother's relatives in Nagpur. Like me there are many people in Karachi who have relatives in Maharashtra,' he had said then.
Nahar recalls, "I have spoken to him more than 20 times over the last two years, and never thought anything like this would happen. He was born after 1947 and he has come to Delhi and Mumbai many years ago."