This blogger knows a thing or two about procuring visas , having had to endure this torture hundreds of times for nearly 30 years now. Indians, as is generally well known, are not welcome anywhere. The visa regimes of every country is designed to make it as difficult as possible for an Indian to visit. Note – the word is “visit” and not “stay”.
You sign all sorts of declarations and produce all sorts of proofs before you will even be considered for a visa. You have to produce a ton of documents (my favourite is the Australian visa for which I once had to produce 723 pages). You have to make all sorts of declarations (my favourite is a US declaration that says you have not kidnapped somebody below 18 years of age – there is no requirement to declare that you have not kidnapped somebody above 18 years of age). You solemnly swear to everything under the sun in the fine print. My favourite is the UK requirement in the past (thankfully no longer there) that if you are a lady going to get married to somebody in the UK, you swear that you are a virgin, which will subsequently be tested by somebody inserting her hand in to test whether your hymen is intact (I am not kidding). After all this you are subjected to the ignominy of a visa interview where you stand in a long and winding queue outside the embassy starting from 4.00 AM in the morning, then wind your way inside a virtual jail till you come into a prison like counter where you face a visa officer. He or she can , and does, reject your visa application simply because he/she/it does not like the look of your face . Period. That’s it. No chance of even appealing.
All this is a long and elaborate preamble to illustrate how the very same countries completely flip 180 degrees if you are an economic offender who has fled your country. You are now welcomed with open arms. Suddenly human rights of the alleged offender take precedence over everything else. The very same United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (of the virginity test fame) will shield the alleged economic offender until its very last breath and allow him to stay indefinitely in the country.
There is a long and illustrious list of alleged crooks who have fled India – Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya, Jatin Mehta, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi et al. If you are interested, the exact number of such luminaries is 184. The modus operandi is usually the same. As soon as the heat starts to be felt and you feel that you are likely to get caught, flee the country. And then claim that you are being harassed , fear for your life, etc etc and stay put. Uncle Sam, Old Blighty and all the rest will freely protect you.
Sure, this lot has obtained permanent residency in these countries sometime in the past. So ? You sign all the honest to god statements that you have to do for a mere visa to visit. Probably you swear to a few more things before you get permanent residency. This is not citizenship; just permanent residency. You still remain an Indian citizen , bound by the laws of India. If you have then violated them, why isn’t permanent residency revoked ?
I can understand protecting those undergoing political persecution, those who are fleeing from war, and those who might be killed if returned. But these are economic offenders. If they are returned to India, they will be put through due legal process in a court of law. The Indian justice system may not be perfect, but it isn’t arbitrary and without merit. Even with the greatest of ingenuity, the argument cannot be made that India is a lawless country. So what is the logic in not sending them straight back.
The long list of luminaries referred to earlier are Indian citizens. They are subject to the laws of India. The government of India has revoked their passports. Any foreign government, in whose jurisdiction they are staying, are hypocrites in not returning them to India forthwith.
I am not welcome to even transit through Heathrow, let alone visit the UK (the same visa process applies even if you are transiting and not entering the country). Mr Vijay Mallya is free to stay for as long as he wishes to and will be protected by Her Majesty. Shame on you, and every other country harbouring these 184 worthies.