Imagine the shock Mumbai-based journalist Vijay Kumar Singh experienced when he was refused visa for Dubai on grounds that he has a life-long ban against his name. This, when the man has never travelled out of the country.
Singh, 35, and a resident of Santacruz has been covering the Mantralaya since several years for a national Hindi newspaper.
Recently, a Dubai-based company, Al Adeel, had invited Singh and 21 others journalist to cover a press conference in Dubai on April 29. Amongst other invitees was playback singer Sonu Nigam and his 27 crew members.
On April 7, the company’s PR agency, Inspiration, collected Singh’s documents to process his visa. The agency then handed them over to Dubai’s Signature PR agency. On April 16, Signature submitted Singh’s documents to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner’s Affairs, Dubai.
On April 23, Inspiration informed Singh that the Dubai Immigration Department had rejected his visa application because he is blacklisted and has a lifetime ban when it comes to visiting Dubai. “I have never been out of the country. I have a clean record and was shocked to hear that the Immigration Department has rejected my visa application stating that I have lifetime ban against my name,” said Singh.
On Friday, Singh wrote a letter (the copy is available with Sunday MiD DAY) to the Dubai Consulate demanding a clarification for the mistake.
“Let me check the matter,” is all the officer of the intelligence agency replied.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Singh. “I am very surprised. We tried hard but the officials in Dubai refused to entertain our queries stating that the “chapter is closed”.
Usha Karnani, Director of the PR agency, Signature, said, “I am going to Dubai. I will try to know actually what happened.”