Posted: Apr 22, 2009
The 'Jai Ho' trust by the 'Slumdog Millionaire' filmmakers has hired a social worker to ensure the welfare of Rubina Ali Qureshi after her father allegedly tried to sell her for nearly USD 300,000.
A British tabloid ‘News of The World’ had on Sunday claimed that Rubina's father Rafiq had tried to sell the nine-year-old to their reporters, who were posing as the agents of a wealthy Arab Sheikh during a sting operation. Rafiq has rubbished the report saying it was a conspiracy to "malign" him. The trust, which was established with financial support from the filmmakers to ensure the welfare of Rubina and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, said that it "is in regular contact with Rubina Ali and her family". Rubina and Azharuddin were plucked from a Mumbai slum to star as young Latika and Salim in the multiple- Oscar- winning film.
"Danny (Boyle, the director) and I remain committed to working the trust and the family to secure Rubina's long-term best interests," Slumdog producer Christian Colson told ‘Us’ magazine in a statement yesterday.
"The trust will support Rubina, her parents and responsible authorities to ensure that the rights and best interests of Rubina are protected," said Noshir H Dadrawala, one of the 'Jai Ho' trustees.
"The trust is in regular contact with Rubina Ali and her family and has hired a social worker to assist in looking after her welfare and that of her co-star," Dadrawala further added.
The social worker will periodically counsel the children and the family and ensure that they receives suitable accommodations and a fixed sum of money each month for living expenses. The trust will also cover the education costs for Rubina and her siblings and provides her with a lump sum of money after she turns 18 years old.
"Danny and I both fully support Dadrawala's comments," Colson added. Rubina still lives with her father Rafiq Qureshi and step-mother Munni in the slums of Mumbai. Her biological mother Khursheed had filed a complaint against Rafiq with the Nirmal Nagar police station in Mumbai after the tabloid report was published. Meanwhile, film's director Danny Boyle has requested the media to "consider the possible negative impacts of the recent media scrutiny of the nine-year-old Rubina" through the 'Jai Ho' trust, which was founded by the film's team to look after the welfare of the children.
The Oscar-winning British filmmaker said the media should "assist in protecting her interest through sensitive reporting to limit further unnecessary exploitation her rights and interests," 'The Times’ Online reported.
Boyle's comments come after a sting operation by a British taboild allegedly revealed that Rubina's father was planning to sell his daughter for USD 300,000 to its reporters, who posed as a wealthy Middle Eastern Family.