A problem of plenty

DUBAI — There was a heavy rush of amnesty seekers at the Indian Consulate and Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) in Jumeirah yesterday after they opened after the two-day weekend.

By Preeti Kannan And Mary Nammour

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Published: Mon 9 Jul 2007, 8:46 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:03 AM

As hundreds of amnesty seekers thronged both offices, officials found it difficult to handle so many cases.

Since Saturday night, some 5,000 Indian amnesty seekers had gathered near the DNRD office, squatting under trees, queuing up outside and inside the department, and running from pillar to post in a desperate attempt to obtain their exit passes.

As the day progressed yesterday, many more amnesty seekers flocked to the place, forcing the police to arrive there to control the mob. The scorching sun was the other big hurdle to cross for the desperate men. Said one of them: “It (the delay and heat) is unbearable. We cannot suffer any more and want to return home.”

S. Ramsingh from Rajasthan told Khaleej Times: “I am here to cancel my visa and I have been waiting outside the DNRD gates since last night. But, the police are not letting us enter. I had come here eight days ago and they had told me to come back on Sunday. Now, I do not know when I’ll get my visa cancelled.”

Suresh Kumar from Punjab, who managed to get past the department gates after waiting there from the wee hours of Sunday said: “When I came here earlier, they asked me to come back with my ticket. A couple of people were given a thrashing by the police for causing commotion. After more than 12 hours of wait, they let me and a few others in. But, even inside, there are more than 1,000 people waiting to get the clearance.”

Meanwhile, some of the amnesty seekers are reported to have fainted due to the heat. Eyewitnesses said they were shifted from the spot by their compatriots.

Similar incidents were reported in front of the Indian consulate yesterday morning after hundreds of people thronged the Mission office to collect their passports.

A DNRD official at the Follow-up and Investigation Section in Jumeirah said: “More than 4,000 exit passes were issued yesterday. This rush is usually witnessed on Sunday considering it’s the first day of the week and it’s the day earmarked for Indian labourers.”

He noted: “The illegals who hang out near the Section and stay here overnight, all want their applications to be processed first in the morning. But most of them are unaware of the procedure.”

The official added: “The most important thing for the amnesty-seeker to know is that he should acquire an emergency passport from his country’s consulate in case his original passport was lost. He should also go to the police for his fingerprints to be taken, and 24 hours later a clearance is issued by the police confirming that the amnesty-seeker’s record is clean. The person can then come to the DNRD section in Jumeirah with his outpass and air-ticket. He can then be issued an exit pass after having his eyes scanned.”

Confirming the problems faced by the Indian mission due to the heavy rush of amnesty seekers, Indian consul general Venu Rajamony said: “We have received around 30,000 passports from DNRD. It’s a big job to sort out all these passports and give them to the individuals. From Monday, we’ll distribute the passports on Indian High School premises and not in the Consulate.”

He added: “If the amnesty seekers come to the centre on Tuesday and Wednesday, it would be helpful for both them as well as the Mission.”

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