BENGALURU: In a scenario similar to Hollywood star Tom Hank’s film The Terminal, a woman from Tanzania and her two young children, including an infant, who are deportees from Male, have been living in the lounge of Kempegowda International Airport for the last five days. Immigration authorities have refused to allow them into India, with food being provided to them at the airport.
The airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), confirmed the incident. A BIAL spokesperson said, “Three Tanzanian nationals who were denied entry into India by immigration authorities are currently being assisted with repatriation flights to their home country. Their welfare needs, while in transit, are being looked after by the BIAL team.”
Sharing details, an airport source said that the woman and her kids had flown from Goa, where her husband is employed. From there, they planned to go to Mumbai and then to Male on an Air India flight on January 9. She had a valid visa for Male. “On reaching Male, immigration authorities there refused to allow her to enter their country as she only had a one-way ticket. She did not have sufficient money or bank balance to show, so they refused to allow her into the Maldives. They decided to deport them back to India. The family was put on the next Air India flight heading to Bengaluru,” a source said.
At KIA, immigration authorities refused to let them step inside the city and they were taken to the lounge here. Steps were taken in co-ordination with different airline staff to facilitate her departure to Tanzania via an Oman Air flight. “However, just before the family was to board, the airline said their office manager at Dar Es Salaam airport was refusing let the trio board. With no means to enter her country nor being allowed onto Indian soil, the family is now stuck,” the source added. Her husband’s mobile has been unreachable for the last five days, he added.
Ben T, a passenger heading to Amsterdam, tweeted on January 13, “At Bangalore airport woman with 2 small children stuck for 4 days with boarding passes from Air India. Lounge staff is trying, but pls retweet and hope to get a solution this way (SIC).”
Immigration officials could not be reached for their response.