UP protests over French envoy’s Azamgarh trip | india | Hindustan Times
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UP protests over French envoy’s Azamgarh trip

The Uttar Pradesh government has shot off a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday on the alleged suspicious movements of a French diplomat in the communally sensitive Azamgarh and Faizabad districts, reports M Hasan.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2009 01:05 IST
M Hasan

The Uttar Pradesh government has shot off a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday on the alleged suspicious movements of a French diplomat in the communally sensitive Azamgarh and Faizabad districts.

State government sources, who did not want to be identified, told Hindustan Times that Sonia Marie Therese Barbry, second counselor (political) in the French embassy in New Delhi, reached Azamgarh on March 31 without informing the district authorities about her travel plans.

The authorities said visiting diplomats are supposed to provide information of their arrival in advance so that their security arrangements can be made.

Barbry, however, said, “There is no need for me to inform the local authorities wherever I go. I have a valid visa. I have every right to visit any part of India, barring Kashmir and some states in the northeast, any time I want to.”

She added, “I did try to meet the district magistrate of Azamgarh, but he was not available. But I did meet the additional district magistrate.”

In Azamgarh, Barbry met former president of the Students Islamic Movement of India Dr Shahid Badra Falahi. A police report said she asked Falahi “questions not desirable for a diplomat”. a district police official told Hindustan Times, “Had she not been a diplomat, we would have arrested her.”

She also met Samajwadi Party candidate Durga Yadav, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rama Kant Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Akbar Ahmad Dumpy, besides Maulana Amir Rashadi of the Ulema Council. The Azamgarh police claimed, “She also asked people whom they would vote.”

The sources said on Thursday, Barbry had meetings with Haji Mahboob of the Babri Masjid movement in Faizabad. She is scheduled to visit Ayodhya on Friday.

The state government has reportedly instructed all the districts administrations on Friday night to keep close watch on foreigners and check their travel documents.