That Paresh Barua is giving this Paresh Barua a bad name. Or so it seems vis-a-vis a visa hurdle at the US Consulate in Kolkata.
A senior technocrat of the Duliajan-based Oil India Limited found out that he possessed the “wrong name” after he applied for visa some time back to take part in an advanced training camp in Houston, US.
The US Consulate in Kolkata cleared the visa applications of two other OIL engineers. But chief engineer (mechanical) Paresh Barua’s request was put on hold as his name matched that of the outlawed Ulfa’s commander-in-chief, who according to the US is the leader of a terrorist group.
When contacted, the US Consulate maintained they have not denied visa to ‘this’ Paresh Barua, indicating that the name of the game was clearance from the Department of State in Washington, usually touchy about certain names.
Public affairs officer of the Kolkata US Consulate Douglas G Kelly said via email: “When the name of an applicant matches that of someone who is not qualified for a visa, permission from the Department of State in Washington is required. Visa will be issued when Washington confirms the identity of the applicant. This is a worldwide regulation, and the visa will be issued when the routine clearance comes through.”
According to an OIL spokesman, chief engineer Barua is waiting for Washington to name the day for his visa.
This is not the first time that his name had landed the senior OIL officer in trouble. The Duliajan police had arrested him in the 1980s mistaking him for the Ulfa leader. Most of the leaders of the then nascent outfit were living in the jungles of Assam.
Notably, the US had put the Ulfa on its list of terrorist outfits and had also marked its armed wing chief as one of the wealthiest persons with assets of over $160 million. A recent US intelligence report also accused the Ulfa of trying to encourage jihadi elements in the Northeast at the behest of the Pakistani ISI and the Bangladeshi Directorate General of Field Intelligence.