Dubai: The rudeness of passport control officers at Indian airports is legendary. They love to harass both arriving and departing passengers, especially if they are residents of Gulf countries.
What’s your name?
Where do you work?
When did you last come to India?
You came just two months ago, why again?
These are some of the rapid-fire questions thrown at expatriates at passport control counters in a tone that is offensive and rude. This rudeness is more pronounced if you happen to be a Muslim passenger.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs last week ordered all Indian residents with white collar jobs in 18 countries, including the UAE, to register online or face offloading while returning from India. This new requirement, effective January 1, will give another reason to passport control officers to harass the passengers.
The mandatory registration is not just pointless but will also restrict free movement of Indian nationals who work abroad. Like the citizens of any other nation, Indians who have a valid passport, visa and airline ticket must be able to travel freely. The Indian government’s argument that this new registration is for the welfare of expatriates doesn’t make sense. The government can easily collect this data through their foreign missions instead of threatening to offload passengers who don’t comply. Expats can be registered when they renew their passports at the consulate or embassy abroad or when they seek any other consular services.