Monday, April 20, 2009
Rafiq Qureshi, the father of Rubina Ali, a child star of the Academy Award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, has been accused of trying to sell his daughter. Qureshi was brought in for questioning by Indian police after a British news agency made accusations that he tried to sell his daughter. Ali played the character Latika.
Ali was the youngest actress in the movie, only 9 years old. She currently resides in a very poor area of Mumbai with her step-mother, father, and brother. Funds have been set up for Ali’s education and the local government has agreed to give housing to the children in the family.
News of the World says the alleged sale came to light during a sting operation performed by the news agency. They allege that Qureshi tried to sell his daughter for US$290,000 (£200,000) to his brother-in-law Rajan More.
“On Sunday, Rubina’s mother Khurshid complained to us that her ex-husband was trying to sell her daughter, saying she saw some reports on television to that effect,” said deputy Indian police commissioner, Nisar Tamboli to Reuters. Police say he tried to sell Ali to his brother-in-law because the family was not happy with the amount of money Ali was getting from her role in the film. More says Ali is not happy with living with her father.
“I have to consider what’s best for me, my family and Rubina’s future. We’ve got nothing out of this film,” said Qureshi as alleged by News of the World who also alleges that Ali’s brother Mohiuddin was in on the plan.
The family denies any wrongdoing and denies they tried to sell Ali.
“We never thought that we would have to face this. We are poor people, for us, our children are everything. Why would we give her away like that?,” said Moinuddin Qureshi, the uncle of Ali.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident.