Indians protest Mission`s "garbage-like treatment"

Upset over discourtesy by staff at the Indian High Commission here, over 2,500 Indians have petitioned the mission to be polite to their countrymen and not treat them like "garbage".

London: Upset over discourtesy by staff at the Indian High Commission here, over 2,500 Indians have petitioned the mission to be polite to their countrymen and not treat them like "garbage".

A petition titled `Stop Treating Indians Like Garbage!` launched earlier this month on Change.Org by an NRI IT professional has gathered over 2,894 signatures so far and resulted in securing a meeting with Indian diplomats at India House here this week.

While the Indian High Commission pointed out that it has already taken steps such as setting up of a "Public Response Unit" to coordinate its response and hold a monthly "Open House" to address grievances, a key students` organisation has now raised concerns over lack of engagement with them.

The National Indian Students Union UK (NISU UK), which has over 14 Indian societies from universities across the country affiliated to it and campaigns on issues affecting Indian students based in Britain, is planning to raise its concerns at the upcoming meeting.

"NISU UK appreciates the Indian High Commission`s steps forward in reaching out to students and the immigration issue that they are facing. We are, however, taken aback by the lack of effort on its part to forge the necessary relationship with NISU," the group said in a statement today.

"We have repeatedly tried to join forces with the Indian High Commission to increase our combined reach. However, in addition to the Indian High Commission evading any of our attempts to build a relationship, it now appears that it is not only ignoring our organisation, but also all the students that we represent throughout the country, be it Manchester or Lancaster or Queen Mary," said Benaisha Mehta, secretary of NISU UK.

Meanwhile, the online petition addressed to the High Commission in London and the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Overseas Affairs in India, calls for a change to an online ticketing system to reduce long queues.

It further states: "Stop abusing pregnant ladies and senior citizens in particular. Update your website with latest information rather than expecting citizens to guess changes that are stuck on a piece of paper out on the wall of the consulate every week. Stop throwing documents back in people`s faces. Suspend officers who cannot treat people with respect."
The High Commission said in a statement: "Recently, responding to the increasing demand, the Mission has launched a system that allows booking of appointment online for the submission of OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) applications in person.
"The website of the Mission is updated regularly to inform the public about the procedures, guidelines and requirements as well as any changes in the regulations. In order to facilitate faster services to the public, the timings for different services have been staggered in order to avoid overcrowding at the premises."

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