Bangladesh irked by India's visa penalty: Report

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 16:38, Dec 10, 2019 | Updated : 16:44, Dec 10, 2019

Representational imageIndia had increased penalties for non-registration, violation of visa regulations, and overstays and is also linking penalties to the period of default in January. According to The Hindu, this visa regulation - introduced about a year ago - has deeply irked Bangladesh.
Following the regulation, Bangladeshi Muslims are now paying a penalty which is at least 200 times higher compared to the Hindus, if they overstay in India.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials told The Hindu, the penalty structure as “discrimination on religious lines.” The officials said they will raise the issue in the upcoming bilateral talks, according to The Hindu.
The issue surfaced during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Kolkata visit about two weeks ago. Bangladesh national team cricketer Saif Hasan had overstayed his visa. He informed the Deputy High Commission office in Kolkata, which in turn spoke to India’s Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO).
According to the rules, posted on FRRO website, noted that the “penalty of overstay” for “minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan” is Rs500 for more than two years, Rs200 for 91 days to two years and Rs100 for up to 90 days.
On the other hand, if the person who overstayed does not belong to a minority community, then the charges are in dollars — $500 (Rs35,000), $400 (Rs28,000) and $300 (Rs21,000) — for the same duration of overstay.
“This means if Liton Das (Hindu in religion) overstays for a day, then he will have to pay Rs100, whereas if the person’s name is Saif Hasan (Muslim in religion), he will have to pay over Rs21,000, which is what Hasan paid,” a senior diplomat from Deputy High Commission told The Hindu.
Recently, the Deputy High Commission office staff had to raise funds to send a “poor woman” back to Bangladesh.
“She overstayed for a day and was asked to pay Rs21,000. She did not have money and we (high commission staff) had to raise the sum. Why should there be discrimination on religious lines?” the diplomat asked while talked to The Hindu.
Bangladesh is even more hurt as India’s new rule is equally applicable to Bangladesh and Pakistan.
“Can India historically and morally bracket Pakistan and Bangladesh together?,” the diplomat asked.