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Braandan
23rd January 2008, 11:43 AM
Indian citizens who have valid visa labels for different countries stuck in their passports, please be careful when you submit them at Passport offices in India for renewal of passport and also at the immigration counters at the airports..

Braandan
23rd January 2008, 11:43 AM
[tscii:e1502d44bb]My wife and kids had a taste of visa page tampering by Indian Govt officials.

My wife and kids had valid visas in their passports stuck by Australian High commission New Delhi during Nov 2006 valid until Nov 2010. After that they had travelled to Australia in Dec 2006 and then went back to Chennai. Both my kids passports were to expire in June 2007. So they applied for new passports by submitting their old passports (which carried currently valid visa until 2010) at the Chennai passport office. Along with the kids passports, my wife’s passport was also submitted for ‘parent verification’ purpose. After that the kids and my wife got back their new and old passports and they never cared to look into them.

When they were travelling to Australia a month back, some officials in Singapore airport noticed that their Aussie visa stamps have been stuck with a small sticker over the printed figure 2010 and altered with pen as 06 on the top of 10. This was not noticed by the immigration babu sitting at the Chennai airport!!! Luckily the Singapore officers checked up thru computer with their Aussie counterparts and found that the visas are valid until 2010. Also the immigration point at Sydney airport checked the validity on their computer database and they were let into Australia.

I presently got fresh stickers/labels of visas stuck in my family members passports by visiting the Aussie immigration office at Lee Street, Sydney, and explaining the whole thing.

You may ask how do I say for sure that it is done in Indian Passport office? Answer: My wife had not submitted the passport anywhere else or had given to anybody else the passport after returning back from Australia in Jan 2007.

Why are Govt officials in India doing this to Indians who have valid visas? I had got email forwards before this telling that some officials tare off the visa pages at airports and the passengers come to know of it only at the destination country’s airport! I had never believed this at that time.

What can be the motivation? God knows! Is it just simple jealousy shown towards fellow citizens travelling to foreign countries?. Or is it any conspiracy to extract money at the last minute when the passenger is ready to board the flight? I could guess something like this: The official at the passport office have an understanding with the immigration official at the airport. After doing the tampering of visa in the passport office he notes down the passport number and communicates to the official in the immigration in the airport. The airport guy waits for the noted passport holder to pass thru immigration while travelling overseas. He points out to the shocked passenger that they do not have a valid visa and hence cannot board the flight. (He knows for sure that in all advanced countries visa stamps are checked with the computer database and hence if the passenger reached that country there may not be much of a problem). But he just scares the poor passenger. Then after a lot of tension given to the passenger and the family, he calls them aside and tells them secretly that they will be allowed to board provided they pay up a hefty sum in INR or some other currency as bribe. The poor passenger does not want to miss his flight, so he pays up. What an idea!

You may ask why it did not happen to my wife and children. Either the guy was absent on the day. Or he keeps checking only for a month or so and stops checking after that. Most Indians get their passports renewed just when they are about to travel. In my wife’s case her kids renewed their passports in June 2007 and travelled to Australia only in December 2007. There was a 6 months time gap.


Just be careful when you give your passport to the policeman at the Indian airport gate, at the immigration counter and to any govt office in India!!! Check up all the valid visa pages especially.
[/tscii:e1502d44bb]

Lambretta
23rd January 2008, 02:48 PM
:shock:

This is extremely........I donno wat to say!! How DARE those ppl. do this.....:banghead: :evil:

Thanks for passing the message, Braandan!

selvakumar
23rd January 2008, 05:02 PM
Thanks Braandan.
I saw this as a farward and in our company's forum some time back. One guy termed this mail as a hoax. But after reading your post, I am sure that something is going wrong

anyway, posting what I got as a farward

--

PLEASE PASS IT ON TO ALL YOU KNOW!!!

Be Careful At the Indian Airports, This is a well-organized conspiracy
& Indian Immigration, Police, Customs and Air India staff with
networking at all the Indian International Airports. Be watchful whenever you
give your passport to Immigration/ Customs/Air India staff. The passport
can be; easily tampered and can create trouble to you. They have found
easy way of; making money from NRIs. This is the way it works; At the
time of the passenger's departure, if the passenger is not looking; at
the officer while he is stamping the exit, the officer very cleverly;
tears away one of the page from the passport. When the passenger leaves;
the Immigration counter, the case is reported on his computer
terminal; with full details. Now all over India they have got full details of
the; passenger with Red Flag flashing on the Passport number entered by
the; departure immigration officer. They have made their money by doing
above; On arrival next time, he is interrogated. Subject to the
passenger's; period of stay abroad, his income and standing etc., the price
to get rid; of the problem is settled by the Police and Immigration
people. If someone; argues, his future is spoiled because there are always
some innocent; fellows who think the honesty is the basis of getting
justice in India.; Which is wrong....;Please advise every passenger to be
careful at the airport. When ever they; hand over the passport to the
counters of Air India, or Immigration or; the customs, they must be
vigilant, should not remove eyes from the; passport even if the officer in
front tries to divert their attention.; Also, please pass this
information to all friends, media men and important; politicians.

Every month 20-30 cases are happening all over India to rob; the NRIs
the minute he lands. Similar case has happened with Armcos; Arifuddin.
He was traveling with his family. They had six passports. They; got the
visa of America and decided to go via Hyderabad from Jeddah. They;
reached Hyderabad . Stayed about a month and left for the States; When;
they reached the States, the page of the American visa on his wife's;
passport was missing. At the time of departure from Hyderabad it was;
there, the whole family had to return to Hyderabad helplessly. On arrival;
at Bombay back, the police caught them and now it is over 2 months,
they; are running after the Police, Immigration officers and the Courts.
On; going in to details with him, he found out the following: One cannot;
imagine, neither can believe, that the Indian Immigration dept can
play; such a nasty game to harass the innocent passengers; All the
passengers traveling to & fro India via Bombay and Hyderabad must; be aware of
this conspiracy. Every month 15 to 20 cases are taking place; at each
mentioned airport, of holding the passengers in the crime of; tearing
away the passport pages. On interviewing some of them, none of them was
aware of what had happened. They don't know why, when and who; tore
away the page from the middle of the passport. One can imagine the;
sufferings of such people at the hands of the immigration, police and the;
court procedures in India after that. The number of cases is increasing
in; the last 2-3 years. People who are arriving at the immigration, they
are; questioned and their passports are being held and they have to go
in; interrogations. Obviously, the conspiracy started about 2 to 3
years ago, now the results are coming. Some of the Air India counter staff
too is; involved in this conspiracy.; KINDLY SEND THIS TO AS MANY AS
YOUR FRIENDS ACROSS THE WORLD AND ALSO; REQUEST THEM TO CHECK THE
PASSPORT AT THE CHECKING COUNTERS AND BEFORE; LEAVING THE AIRPORT
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Braandan
24th January 2008, 05:32 AM
The email forward given by selvkumar came sometime in 2002. I really did not believe it then, I even mailed my friends that it can't be (I was an employee of Govt of India, myself from 1986 to 1996).

I was surprised when i happened to my wife and kid.

When I showed their passport visa pages to the Aussie immigration officer at Lee Street, Sydney, her face went red with anger "How dare somebody touch our visa labels?", she checked with her counterparts at Australian High Commission at New Delhi and they in turn got in touch with the Chennai passport office. They got the usual reply from may be the PRO "We don't do anything like that".. No wonder, and I was not surprized. When we India citizens are not answered properly by Govt of India officials, how can we expect them to answer to officers of a foriegn nation?

I was too ashamed to tell the above comment to the Aussie officer because it was belittling my own country in front of a foriegner.

selvakumar
24th January 2008, 09:24 AM
Braandan,
That is sad :( Not sure how first time travellers will be able to cope up with the mental pressure that they have out of this. Let us hope tat things will improve !

app_engine
24th January 2008, 06:47 PM
வேலியே பயிரை மேயும் கதை:-(

Definitely it's important that one is careful and making sure that papers are in order (esp. the passport). Even where fraud is not involved, there could always be mistakes and errors. I heard from a co-worker who went to Mexico for US visa stamping that the passports, after stamping, were brought back in "koodai"s for distribution, shouting the names:-)

It's not unusual to have name errors, address errors etc. in the passports issued by our authorities. For e.g. my son didn't have last name and I didn't take it seriously when issued (who typically cares about lastname in TN / Kerala). There had been no issues with H4 stamping those days too in Chennai (TTS period, need not go to consulate). Neither there was any trouble in travelling to U.S. or getting the Canada visa stamped.

The trouble happened when I had to renew the H1 by going to Toronto for stamping, via road. Toronto U.S. consulate had no issues with the stamping and I was driving back to Detroit and reached the border in the night around 9 PM. The authorities there were very suspicious as his passport didn't have lastname:-( and asked us to wait. (It was painful to wait in a "military-office-like" setting at night for one hour with family, even though we were only simply sitting. I was even thinking of calling an attorney / American friends who are notaries etc. It wouldn't have probably happened had we flown in).

Finally the officer got convinced based on the birth certificate and signed the I-94's and I drove home with a sigh of relief, after 10 PM on a winter night.

No prize for guesses on what I would have insisted upon - when his passport came up for renewal and when we applied in the Chicago Indian consulate:-)

app_engine
24th January 2008, 07:01 PM
It's another irritating thing to have different nomenclature -our passports have "surname" and "given name" while in U.S. they ask for "first name" (same as "given name" ) and "last name" (same as "surname") as these are "ulta".

In addition, an average Thamizhan of TN has only "initial" (first letter of father's name) and "name" (given name) and don't care for last name even while applying for passport etc. or even when travelling to U.S., like me, even though my father's name is the "surname" in the passport (which I now use as "last name"). Interestingly, my wife, son & daughter use my "name" (first name) as their "last name" which often raises some eyebrows as we intro ourselves as a family with me alone having a different last name:-)

This is typically not an issue for people of other Indian states, who have "generic" last names (Patel, Rao, Nair, Sharma etc. for e.g.), but often a confusion for people from TN.

Braandan
25th January 2008, 09:52 AM
app_engines predicament is understandable. In my case, I belong to a matrilineal community of Kerala (called "marumakkathaayam") and it is cutomary to carry the surname of our mothers (the 'veettupEru' of the mother), because heredity is from mother to daughter thru the females of the family. Many of the countries we visited have questioned why my children or wife do not carry my surname and in each place I explain about this system of Kerala. In Zurich the lady officer liked the concept very much "How great, importance to ladies of the family! in this male chauvinistic world!!)