Official visa applicant abusing: Indo-American community calls for free Diaspora hotline: The Tribune India

Washington, December 3

There is an urgent need to establish a global toll-free hotline for the rapidly growing Indian diaspora which now numbers 32 million people, a prominent Indo-American community activist said on Thursday following an incident of an official abusing a visa applicant at the Indian Consulate in New York.

The short video of the incident has now gone viral and has been seen by several million people on various social media platforms. The Indian Consulate in New York has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the officer.

The woman, who is seen being threatened by the consulate official, and her husband were eventually granted visas to travel to India to attend his father’s last rites.

Community activist Prem Bhandari said it was an endemic problem in Indian diplomatic missions around the world.

New York-based Bhandari, who for years has been handling cases of Indians living abroad on visa and passport issues, said visa and passport officials at missions Indian diplomatic officials are not properly trained to interact with people who come to them in distress.

“Undoubtedly, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, things have improved dramatically over the past few years. We have a long way to go on how our own people are treated in Indian diplomatic missions. number of complaints like this daily. The New York Consulate is no exception to this rule,” he said.

“Whatever the reason, the manner in which the visa officer at the Indian Consulate in New York is seen behaving in the video is unforgivable. It is important that the Indian government takes action to ensure that this does not happen. happen again to any of our diplomats. They are public servants, and this video certainly does not reflect that,” Bhandari said.

“Given the growing needs of Indians living abroad, who now number 32 million, it would be better if the Indian government established a global toll-free number, where a member of the Indian diaspora can call and get help. “Help without fear. I’m saying this because of the dozens of calls, texts and emails I receive from the Diaspora every week,” he said.

“Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has done so much for the Indian Diaspora including simplification of visa and passport system as well as OCI cards. We expect a lot from him,” he said, noting that there was an urgent need to address the issue of how our own government officials treat and manage our own people.

“Under no circumstances can the police be called against our own people,” Bhandari said. PTI

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