Denial of PIO to Naipaul: Ministry seeks report

Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry has sought a detailed report from Indian High Commission in UK about the controversy involving its reported refusal to grant a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card to Nobel laureate V S Naipaul.

Last Updated: Jul 06, 2010, 18:12 PM IST

New Delhi: Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry
has sought a detailed report from Indian High Commission in UK
about the controversy involving its reported refusal to grant
a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card to Nobel laureate V S
Naipaul.

"We have sought a report from our High Commission in UK
about the whole issue," Secretary in the Ministry, A Didar
Singh told PTI.

The move followed media reports which said the Indian
High Commission refused a PIO card to the eminent author as he
did not have proper documents, he said.

According to the media report, Naipaul`s wife Nadira,
three months ago, travelled from Wiltshire to London to ask
the Indian High Commission as to how her husband could apply
for a PIO card.

As per Nadira, she was told by officials in the Mission
that her husband should travel to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh
to find a tehsildar or magistrate willing to certify that the
eminent author is indeed a person of Indian origin, the report
said.

When asked whether Government was willing to waive off
requirement of essential documents for the author, if he
applies for the card, Singh said "it will have to be examined
what kind of documents the renowned author has. We will get to
know about all this after getting the report."

Singh said any Indian origin person can get a "nativity
certificate" through the mission concerned and one need not to
travel to his or her place of origin for getting a
certificate. A PIO card holder does not require a separate
visa for India and the card is valid for 15 years.

Naipaul`s wife also claimed that she was first made to
wait in the "pits" of the embassy before being allowed to see
an officer to whom she explained what she wanted.

However, rejecting the reports the Indian High Commission
yesterday issued a statement saying Naipaul has not approached
it for a PIO card.

In a brief statement, the mission said, "Lady Nadira
Naipaul had visited the High Commission some three months ago
and made enquiries about the procedure for application for a
PIO card for her husband which were explained to her by the
concerned officials of the mission."

PTI