London: The Indian High Commission has denied a charge by Lady Nadira, the wife of Nobel laureate and acclaimed author VS Naipaul, that she encountered discourteous behaviour from a commission official when she came to inquire how her husband could apply for a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card.
Naipaul apparently wanted the card as it would enable him to travel visa-free to India. It is learnt that Lady Nadira approached the Indian High Commission at India House in London three months ago inquiring how to apply for such a card.
She recently told an Indian newspaper that an official of the high commission told her that the Trinidad-born Naipaul would have to go to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh - where his family hailed from - and fetch a certificate of origin from the office of the local `tehsildar`. The report referred to Lady Nadira`s indignation at the treatment meted out to her and husband.
The high commission issued a statement Monday evening saying "No application has been made by Sir Vidia Naipaul for a PIO card." It said Lady Nadira had visited the high commission some three months ago and made inquiries regarding the procedures for applying for a PIO card for her husband. The procedures were explained to her, the statement said, adding they were the same as that appeared on the high commission`s website.
The statement came after seeking details of Lady Nadira`s visit and her meeting with the concerned official.
According to rules, an applicant for a PIO card is eligible to do so provided he or she fulfills any of three criteria.
The criteria are, (1) who at any time held an Indian passport; or (2) he/she or either of his/her parents or grandparents or great grandparents was born in and permanently resident in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of any country as may be specified by the Central Government from time to time; (3) who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a Person of Indian Origin as mentioned above.
The PIO scheme covers up to four generations and also the foreign spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.
The documents the applicant has to submit along with the application include the existing, valid passport in original and the expired Indian passport in original or any two or more of six documents.
These include, photocopy of expired Indian passport, letter from British Home Office confirming Indian origin, Indian passport or its photocopies of parents or grand parents of the applicant, birth certificate of the applicant and of the parents or grand parents of the applicant, nationality certificates of the applicant and of the parents or grand parents, school or college leaving certificates of the applicant or parents of the applicant.