13th OCTOBER 2013
Polish visitor has a harrowing tale
Ms Aleksandra Karasiewicz is from Poland and is married to an Indian. This February, she landed in India on an ‘X visa’ to stay with her husband. Now, a few months after trying to extend her visa and she tells the harassment she faced at the hands of the Foreigners Registration Office in Pune.
This is not an isolated case. The trend is that officials think that foreigners are easy to fleece. They have more money, and they can pay up. And thirdly, they have little time, while the Indian officialdom has a lot of time on their hands, to harass others.
Aleksandra’s is not an isolated case. There are reports that foreigners on long term stay in India, are asked quite a few questions when they choose to return and it is pointed out that the exit forms are not perfect, and when they are waiting for their flight, an hour or two way, they are asked to go back to the police station or foreigner registration office, a few hundred kilometres away and get the right kind of endorsements.
Aleksandra pours her heart out at the harassment she suffered in Pune. Naming the official, she says ‘He was shouting on me, insulting me, treating me in very bad manner..”. And this is not all. She says there were even inappropriate comments passed with comments on ‘white girls’ and such stuff.
Two months before her visa expired, Aleksandra visited the Pune Foreign registration office to extend her X visa. For a month, nothing happened. According to her, no one was able to give any direction on the kind of documents she needed to submit for her visa extension.
The way to harass Aleksandra was to ask her to bring witnesses for the marriage, and when these witnesses were brought to the FRO, the official had apparently refused to meet them, and kept postponing meeting the witnesses.
Aleksandra was in India for eight months and then she decided to leave, which was a very hard decision for her as she along with her husband had planned to stay in India for two years. Finally, it appeared that her visa would not be extended, and there were suggestions that she should look to exit India and apply for an ‘Exit permission’. After a four month long wait at the FRO office in Pune, Aleksandra was not sure whether her application had been forwarded to the officials in Delhi. She applied for exit permission about one week before she booked her flight to go back to Poland.
Aleksandra says she was not openly asked for a bribe, “but many times, indirectly and also through all these funny things they were asking us to bring, I got to know, that if I don’t pay, I won’t receive my visa extension.”
Aleksandra was leaving for Poland through the Mumbai airport when she got stopped by Bureau of Immigration officials at the International Airport due to lack of proper documents from the Foreigners Registration Office in Pune.
Officials there apparently told Aleksandra that the FRO at Pune should have given her two more papers ensuring that their stamping of the exit permission was right and they explained to her the nature of the documents.
Aleksandra tried to explain but the officials were firm. She told them that she was going back to Poland again to apply for a fresh visa to come back to India, but they did not listen. “I was trying to explain, that I didn’t get anything from them, that I am married to an Indian, that I want to apply from Poland for new X visa, but they didn’t listen and closed me in a small room”
Aleksandra explains what she went through: “After one hour I got free and admonished, that I have to take care about this… It was long journey, 2 o’clock at the night… I was just crying and being scared…”Finally she left for Poland, and is now safe and sound. But she rues these experiences in India, and has posted her travails in Ipaidabribe.com
She goes on about her thoughts and how other Indians reacted to her problems “But what scares me most in India is the fact, that people are like in a sleep. Whenever I was trying to talk, everybody is telling about problems, but nobody is willing to do something.” They are just telling: “What to do, that’s India”Aleksandra is a bribe fighter. Though hinted at, she never paid a bribe, despite the harassment and the taunts.
The full details given by Aleksandra to www.ipaidabribe.com has been communicated to senior officials in the department and action is awaited.
Note: This page is dedicated for the foreigners experience in India on various issues ranging from Visa/Immigration to other social problems.