Dubai: An Indian American, flying home from the US following his father’s death, found himself stuck while in transit in Dubai on Tuesday morning as he was not carrying his old passport that is linked to his OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai then came to his rescue and helped him continue his journey by instantly issuing him an entry visa to India to attend his father’s funeral.
Hari Sukumaran, who was heading to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala to perform his father’s last rites, made a plea through Twitter seeking help with his onward journey after he failed to show the proper documents for entry in India.
As a US passport holder, Sukumaran received a visa on arrival in the UAE. The OCI card is issued to Indian-origin people holding passports from other countries, to facilitate their visits to India.
Tweet to rescue
Addressing his plea to Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, he stated: “Honourable Minister, I am unable to travel to Trivandrum to perform my father’s last rites because my OCI card has my old passport number. I am stuck in Dubai after travelling all the way from US. I am praying for your kind attention to my plight.”
A consulate employee, Amit Raghave, spotted the tweet and advised him to contact the mission or the help centre Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK) working under its aegis with his details.
“CGI Dubai sprang into action based on his Twitter request and immediately contacted the affected Indian passenger and requested him to visit the consulate,” Siddhartha Kumar Baraily, consul, Press, Information and Culture at the consulate, told Gulf News.
He said the passenger “was stopped at Dubai Airport while transiting as he was not carrying his old passport, the number of which was mentioned in his OCI card. He was then issued an entry visa on the basis of his Indian origin to attend his father’s funeral in India,” he added.
By Tuesday evening, Hari posted a series of updates about how he was instantly supported by the mission and thanked them profusely for the gesture. “Indian Consulate in Dubai went out of their way today to help me get through a very difficult challenge that I had to face in Dubai soon after suffering a sad personal loss. I live in the US and had to reach Trivandrum urgently to perform my father’s last rites,” he tweeted.
“A tech issue was discovered at the last minute with my documents that prevented me from being allowed to board the flight from Dubai to Trivandrum. The issue was finally resolved thanks to the fine folks at Indian consulate Dubai. They were all extremely helpful and professional (sic).”
Community welfare service
The consulate said assisting Indians stranded while transiting in Dubai was also part of its community welfare service.
Last month, a housemaid from Saudi Arabia, who missed her connecting flight in Dubai, was supported by the mission. She was issued a fresh ticket and assisted with her inter-terminal baggage transfer fee. Air India Express also offered food to the affected woman who was without any money.