Treated like a common criminal: Mumbai woman on trip to Georgia
Khushbu Kaushal, a resident of Mumbai, shared her experience in Georgia through a Facebook post. She was sent back to India without any proper explanation.mumbai Updated: Jul 06, 2017 14:33 IST
Mumbai’s Khushbu Kaushal, whose Facebook post about her experience in Georgia has gone viral, said on Thursday her experience in the eastern European country was nothing but an ordeal as she was made to spend hours at the airport and sent back to India without any proper explanation.
Kaushal shared her story on Facebook addressing the post to Archil Dzuliashvili, the Georgian ambassador to India, about “the most humiliating night” of her life in its capital Tbilisi. Her July 3 post has been shared by 3,800 people and over 4,000 have reacted.
“I was treated like a common criminal. I was not provided with any water, food, place to rest when I was made to wait at the airport,” the Bandra resident, who is back home, told the Hindustan Times.
Kaushal, who works with an advertising agency, said she started planning her trip to Georgia two months ago after watching a television show, where one of the characters recommended visiting the eastern European country.
“It was then I realised that there is a country called Georgia and not just an American state. When the officer at the airport in Georgia asked me the purpose of my visit, I shared this with him and we shared a laugh. It was all pleasant until then and I thought it was a procedure,” said Kaushal.
Kaushal said she produced her e-visa, which issued by the Georgian government, the letters from her employer, hotel bookings, the return air-ticket, bank statement and insurance among other documents required to travel to another country to immigration officials there.
She added she noticed another Indian man, who also had an e-visa, also being “held” at the airport in Tbilisi.
Kaushal said the Georgian ministry of external affairs issued the e-visa to her when she applied online for the same to visit the country. However, when she was being interviewed at the Tbilisi airport, the immigration officers did not mention anything related to the problem of her e-visa there, she claimed.
When Kaushal arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, an Indian immigration officer told her that 90% Indian travellers were sent back from Georgia.
“It seems to be true because after I shared my post on Facebook, people dropped their comments and I saw there was a group of six to seven girls, who were sent back, a man, who had a foreign conference to attend, and parents who were visiting their children too. If there is a problem with the e-visa, why is the Georgian government issuing the same?” Kaushal asked.
It was her first trip to Europe for Kaushal who has been to Dubai and Thailand in the past. And when asked if she would want to visit Georgia again, Kaushal said she is scared.
“I am scared to think of going back there again despite the fact that many Georgians were very friendly as they left an apology on my post; the Georgian media and the lawyers there were also willing to help me. But I am not sure how the Georgian government will behave with me. I don’t know if they will put me in jail upon my second visit,” she said.
An official from the embassy of Georgia told the Hindustan Times the problem was with the e-visa that Kaushal was carrying.
The Georgian ministry of interior affairs said in a statement that they have received Kaushal’s post on Facebook and the issue was transferred to competent authorities “for the examination of the mentioned matter”.
“For the time being, we can tell you that she travelled to Georgia by e-visa. The Georgian entry visa was not issued by the Embassy of Georgia in New Delhi. Ambassador called her personally in order to find out the circumstances of the occurrence at the Airport. Communication with her was also reported back to Georgia,” it added.