New Age deputy editor not given visa for Kolkata conference

New Age deputy editor not given visa for Kolkata conference

SAM Staff,

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka did not issue a visa to a senior New Age journalist who was invited to present a paper at an international conference at Jadavpur University today.

The head of the Department of English of the university, Abhijit Gupta, extended an invitation to New Age deputy editor Abu Jar Md Akkas, a linguistics and typography hobbyist, to attend the conference in relation to British Library’s major digitisation project ‘Two Centuries of Indian Print’ in July 14–15.

The project management confirmed that it would bear all costs involving his participation in the conference, according to the invitation letter sent by Abhijit Gupta, also a co-investigator of the project.

Project curator of the British Library formally requested that Akkas be given necessary visa to enable him to travel to India to attend the conference.

Scholarly teachers, researchers and professionals were scheduled to participate in the conference.

Akkas applied for the visa on July 2 to Indian Visa Application Centre at Gulshan with a copy of confirmed air ticket sent by the project authorities. The centre was scheduled for July 6 to return his passport.

When contacted, a centre official informed Akkas on July 9 that his passport was at the high commission. Indian High Commission first secretary Rajesh Uike told New Age on July 10 that delivery of many passports could not be held as several mission staff were on leave.

The high commission also did not return Akkas’s passport till Thursday.

Another visa application centre official said on Thursday afternoon that the passport was not ready for delivery.

Indian High Commission claimed on several occasions that the Indian authorities eased the visa regime for Bangladesh nationals. Indian high commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on May 23 at a programme at the National Press Club that the high commission issued about 9,33,000 visas in 2016 under an easy visa regime extended to Bangladesh people.