Give Her a Passport; Give Her a New Life

Every time Ruksana attended a job interview at leading firms in Bahrain, she just could not hide her anxiety over the final result. But, now she knows the results is a foregone conclusion.

For, she is ‘now used to the wrinkled forehead of officials who push aside her resume with an air of finality saying, “sorry, we can’t hire a person without a passport.”

Ruksana joins the band of ‘No man’s land’ stuck in the foreign nations without any hope to fly to India. Her father Ahmedkutty is an Indian and her mother is Sri Lankan settled now in Bahrain for a long period. The parents however failed to register the births of Ruksana and her younger sister at the Indian Embassy.

“It was is 2004, we applied for Indian passport. I was 15 years then,” said Ruksana, whose sister is three years younger to her.

Interestingly, her sister received her passport soon while Ruksana did not. “Three years after the application for the passport, the Indian Embassy sent me a letter rejecting my application,” reveals Ruksana.

Her application was rejected because she did not apply for the passport before the age of 18. “But I had applied at the age of 14. Unfortunately I could not prove it as I had not received any acknowledgement from the embassy while submitting my application,” she confides.

Ruksana was one among the petitioners who filed a case in the Delhi High Court in 2011. Though the court ordered the authorities to issue passports, bureaucrats at the embassy derive sadistic pleasure sitting on Ruksana’s files.

“I frequently visit the embassy to chase my papers. Former consulate attaché was really harsh. But the present official is polite enough,” Ruksana said. In August, the embassy informed her that her papers were stuck back in India at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Ruksana in fact, wanted to pursue her higher studies in India. But without passport, she cannot get there no can she get employed in the kingdom.

“ I do agree my parents were ignorant. But, why to penalise me?” she asks. The passport ‘tangle’ has left her in a state of chaos, It is not just her studies and work that are affected. Being an eligible spinster, she is not even able to find a suitable match back in India.

“Some of my relatives and friends suggested that I could marry a Bahraini. But, why should I when I have favourable court verdict?” she seethes in anger.

Would the mighty bureaucrats at the Indian Embassy and here in India be kind enough to open.