OCI woman alleges abusive treatment by immigration staff at Bengaluru airport, seeks apology

Flyer Nalini Murkutla said her nine-year-old son accompanying her was left traumatised by the incident.

Published: 08th August 2023 10:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2023 10:55 AM   |  A+A-

Representative image of Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport

Express News Service

BENGALURU: An overseas citizen of India (OCI), employed as a civil engineer in Saudi Arabia, is completely upset at the alleged humiliation and abusive behaviour meted out to her by immigration officers at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport recently.

Flyer Nalini Murkutla said her nine-year-old son accompanying her was left traumatised by the incident.

The incident occurred in the wee hours of July 22 when Nalini had just landed at Bengaluru airport by a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain (GF 282). Since then, she reached out to different departments and registered formal complaints but has got no help.

Nalini told TNIE, “As an OCI, we had to fill up a landing card and hand it over to the immigration counter. When my turn came, the lady at the counter treated me in an extremely rude manner and with contempt from the get-go. She didn’t like the way I filled in the form and started screaming at me loudly. She took the form of another person and showed me how he had filled it, and how my form was not done properly”.

“It was condescending behaviour which made me feel humiliated. She ordered me to fill up another form and bring it. I just felt like a naughty pupil in front of a headmaster. She could have communicated in a polite manner. My son was asking me why she was treating me so badly,” Nalini added.

The flyer conceded that she had not filled the complete address of her brother’s place in Jayanagar where she had come on a visit.

“I was exhausted without a night’s sleep and had filled it up quickly,” she added.

The engineer then moved to another counter.

“I never had the intention to ignore the first officer’s instructions, but due to her arrogant and disrespectful behaviour towards me, I left her counter in a disoriented and anxious state - I just wanted to get away from her. When I handed in the same forms to another woman official, the previous officer came over and told her about my mistake and was making an issue out of it. Meanwhile, a male official around was gesticulating to this lady to okay it and she finally stamped the clearance,” Nalini said.

The passenger went to the same male officer and said she wanted to register a formal complaint.

“He had no intention to help me and tried to diffuse the situation by getting rid of me. This officer was seen hiding his ID from plain sight. I insisted that I wanted to lodge a formal complaint and when I asked for his name, he went berserk, turned abusive and even called me an obnoxious woman, and ordered to remove me from there” she recalled.

Nalini felt humiliated, however, with deep regret, decided to leave as she didn’t want to exacerbate the situation by fighting back, keeping her son in mind.

The following day, Nalini sent a complaint to the 'Air Sewa’ facility but did not get any response. She also shot off mails to the immigration authorities in Bengaluru and called a landline number too. She was told to approach the Foreigners Regional Registration Office.

“I have travelled to nearly 30 countries including remote corners of the world. I have never been treated this shabbily at an airport anywhere. Experiencing this in my own country has left me heartbroken. My son was traumatised and anxious to fly after a couple of days due to the incident when we had to travel to Vijayawada from Bengaluru airport.” she added.

Asked what action she wanted, Nalini said, “The immigration officers must treat any passenger with respect, it looked like these officers were not trained to treat passengers properly. Their default attitude is to be disdainful and treat passengers in an inhumane way which is unacceptable. An apology would help.”

A top immigration official told TNIE, “I will check details about the incident and get back. We have CCTV footage available, and everything would be recorded in it.”

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