By: Gurbir Singh
The dejected father of autistic Jessica, Craig Doody is still twiddling his thumbs in a Delhi hotel room, planning his strategy to overcome the solid brick wall that he is currently facing to get his daughter back home safely.
But for the sake of his daughter, he is not giving up – at least for now.
Jessica who was earlier reported missing from Christchurch(NZ), was later traced to be living in India with her boyfriend, Gurdeep Singh (aka Garry).
Her father, Craig travelled to Delhi and onwards to Patiala to meet Jessica but it was not the meeting he was expecting (please see my earlier published story,here and other news portals).
He was snoozing in bed when I made the long distance call to him from New Zealand early this morning after responding to his message minutes earlier.
He first expressed his gratefulness for the coverage, and was keen to tell me more.
And, then there was nothing to stop his pent up emotions running wild.
Craig, lamented at the treatment accorded to him when he went to meet Jessica at Patiala.
“It was humiliating, I was made to look like doing an act in a circus,” he commented.
“I could not even have a moment alone with my daughter or Garry, permitted only to ask five questions”, he repeatedly says.
“I’m very disappointed as all my efforts to convince the authorities there about the medical condition of my daughter, were in vain.”
When asked whether he carried any evidence to prove her medical condition(s), Craig alleges the court and medical records produced by him (and by NZ High Commission) were “not accepted there (in Patiala)”, and he was told these “should be forwarded through New Zealand government”.
This journalist has a copy of an interim court personal order that stops Jessica “from leaving New Zealand unless she is in the company of her mother or sister”. It also states that she is very vulnerable to the influence of unscrupulous predators.” However, the veracity of this court order could not be confirmed by this journalist.
Craig recalled when he first met Gurdeep (aka Garry) at his home in Christchurch a couple of years back.
“Actually, I sort of liked him at that time, and welcomed him to our family.”
But things started changing quickly after Jessica moved in with him.
“Jessica who was so close to her family, started drifting away slowly, and a time came when she severed all connections”.
Craig blames Garry (the name he prefers to address him) for this.
An emotionally charged Craig said, “He (Garry) acted as a predator who actually attacked the most vulnerable person (Jessica) for his own gain for a life in New Zealand.”
“I actually helped him support his case for a visa by giving a letter to Immigration NZ, and this is what we get in return”, he remarked.
Remorseful Craig talked in detail about the huge debt Garry had accumulated for himself and for Jessica.
“How is he or even Jessica going to repay that debt (if he ever returns) because most of it was incurred on Garry’s instigation – buying flash cars, expensive phones”, he inquires.
This journalist’s attempts to contact Gurdeep in Patiala and get his version for this news story failed as the phone call and msg were not responded.
When asked what was their current relationship status, Craig expressed relief that they were not married yet, but his biggest fear was “this is his sole intention, and use my daughter to return to New Zealand and stay there permanently”.
Craig was hoping NZ Immigration would not grant him a visa to gain residency or even allow him to return.
On my asking if he was returning to New Zealand soon or what his future plans were, Craig said ”hopefully, not without sorting out my daughter’s situation”.
Jessica’s visitor visa is until May 9, and Craig is hoping she would return before that day.
“It’s very expensive to overstay and costs over 1,000 Rupees daily, but I definitely believe NZ government would intervene and hope India will not allow any extension,” Craig said.
“Jessica has been brain washed and does not fully comprehend her current situation, but when she returns to her own family, things would be different with her”, Craig added in his parting shot.
This is what everyone in her family and their well wishers in New Zealand, too, are hoping.