Something is surely wrong with the Indian system. Sometimes I have felt that the Government officials are especially rude and resentful of the NRIs – maybe its envy or jealousy, I am not sure. This case illustrates that amply! These officials should be sacked immediately! There is no denying that this family goofed up BIG TIME in not bringing the visas and PIO card of their kids, but the officials should have been more humane…. a quality that is sadly missing in most officials in India.
Mumbai Airport immigration officials deported seven-year-old Viraj Shriwardhankar and his three-and-a-half-year-old brother Vrishabh two hours after they landed in India last week.
Their parents’ plea for a transit or temporary visa was summarily denied.
The officials granted a two-day transit visa to a French national at the same time, their father Vijay Shriwardhankar wrote in an e-mail. ‘The French national has white skin while Viraj and Vrishabh have brown skin.’
Vijay and his wife Vaishali Prabhu, both natives of Mumbai who have worked as IT professionals for nine years in Boston, said they ‘cried’ when they described their experience at Mumbai airport. Both Vijay and Vaishali are Indian citizens and have a Green Card. Their sons are born in the US and hence, American citizens.
The family left Boston on December 11 for a four-week vacation in India by Air France flight 337. ‘The Air France agent verified our Green Cards along with our passports but did not ask about the Indian visa for our children who have US passports. At Paris the officials never verified our sons’ visa but verified our Green Cards,’ Shriwardhankar said.
When the family arrived in Mumbai they realised they had not brought the visas for the children with them.
Their elder son has a ten-year Indian visa in an old passport which the family did not carry with them. The younger son has a Person of Indian Origin card. That too the family did not have with them.
The family requested an immigration official for temporary or transit visas for the children.
They also told the official they could get the documents faxed from Boston.
‘The official would not even look at us, let alone hear our pleas,’ Vaishali said. ‘I have never seen such inhuman behaviour.’
No one was bothered that the children had already traveled for about 24 hours. ‘There was absolutely no humanity shown by the ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Immigration or Air France officials,’ Vijay said.
The official would grant the family only 45 minutes for the documents to be faxed to Mumbai. ‘We requested a little more time. But he would not heed us,’ Vaishali said.
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