THE Home Office is under pressure to grant visa to an Indian woman suffering from a rare disease to stay in Britain.
Bhavani Espathi, who is ill with Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, last year received a letter stating that her application to remain in Britain had been refused and she was liable to be forcibly removed.
She received the letter while she was in coma following a major surgery.
Now, thousands have signed a petition urging the Home Office to reverse the decision and it is edging close to its 150,000-signature target on Change.org.
The petition was launched by the 31-year-old artist’s fiancé, Martin Mangler, a German national based in the UK as a volcanologist.
“The doctors say she needs to stay here, but the Home Office want to deport her to India. They even threatened her with deportation whilst she was unconscious in coma,” noted Mangler’s petition titled ‘Let Bhavani Live’.
“Doctors say her life is at risk if she would be deported. This means the Home Office could be sending her to her death. The Home Office have admitted that she wouldn’t get as good care in India, and pointed out that she could get ‘palliative care’ instead,” it said.
A Home Office spokesperson told the Independent that the department had been “made aware of fresh evidence” in Esapathi’s case in March 2019 and that it was “currently being reviewed”.
Espathi came to the UK as a student in 2010 and she worked in the arts industry before she fell ill. In September last year she underwent a surgery, but it resulted in complications.
She is required to undergo further surgeries.
“She remains on a drip to gain weight so that she can survive the next surgeries. She can’t travel at all and the surgeons say that it is of vital importance that her care continued to be coordinated and performed here in the UK,” notes the petition by Mangler.
The UK Home Office visa refusal to Espathi, issued in December last year, accepted that the healthcare systems in the UK and in India are “unlikely to be equivalent.” But “this does not entitle you to remain here … Should it be the case that your illness deteriorates or you are unable to access treatment, you have not shown a lack of palliative care or family support available in India.”