Kohima, Jan 6: The Northeastern community is already feeling out of place in India. And adding to the woes of the natives or anyone associated with the state is the central government itself. In a recent update, according to the Times of India, anyone is born in Nagaland won't be able to apply for passport under the 'Tatkal' category. And even if a passport was received, the recipient may be called by the Nagaland Police to come to the state and sign some documents.
This was a rude shock to many who were not aware of this clause while applying for or renewing a passport. 40 year old Keshawv Agarwal is a case in point. An army man's son, he was born in Nagaland and studied there upto class X but had shifted to Delhi in 1992. While he received a passport without any hassle in Delhi, for renewal he had to run from pillar to post.
"I was told that I can't apply for a Tatkal passport because I was born in Nagaland. So I applied under the normal category and was called to the Passport Seva Kendra at Herald House, ITO, for an interview. They included it in the 'complex case' category. And I wondered why now," said Agarwal.
However, he got his Passport within 15 days, but his woes were yet to come to an end. After 20 days, he is asked to visit the special branch of Nagaland Police personally and sign a few documents.
A frustrated Agarwal said,"It's ridiculous! I've been a Delhi resident for over 20 years and I've all documents like Aadhar and voter ID cards from here. In that case, why has my Nagaland connection suddenly become a problem? Also, why did they issue me a passport if verification was pending?"
Checking with the ministry of external affairs proved futile. "It must have been there for years. In these cases we go by the perspective of the ministry of home affairs. They know the internal security ramifications. I can't say anything off hand. Give me a day to find out more about this," chief passport officer Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi said.
However, why Nagaland only has been receiving the 'special' services is a question that no one has an answer too. Some may point security reasons, but others cry foul play. Nevertheless, on verifying with the government site www.passportindia.gov.in, it did mention ""Mandatory pre-police verification cases such as Indian citizens of J&K and Nagaland would also need additional processing time". Interestingly, the idea behind the mandate could not be cleared even by the officials.