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Grappling with passport issues

Guess why Babita Kumari may miss next month's junior world wrestling championships in Turkey? Because nearly two years after having lost her passport in Baku, Azerbaijan, she is yet to get a new one, writes Saurabh Duggal.

other Updated: Jul 15, 2009 23:14 IST
Saurabh Duggal

Guess why Babita Kumari may miss next month's junior world wrestling championships in Turkey? Because nearly two years after having lost her passport in Baku, Azerbaijan, she is yet to get a new one.

Denied twice in 2008 apparently because her papers weren't complete, Babita applied again in 2009 under the Tatkal Scheme. On April 20, 2009, the Regional Passport Office in Chandigarh wrote to the Indian Embassy in Baku seeking a No Objection Certificate. Nearly three months later, they are still awaiting a reply.

Babita, 19, won silver in the 51kg freestyle category of the junior world meet in Beijing two years ago. Her inability to travel abroad has already cost her two international meets including the senior Asian championships in Pattaya last May.

A quarter-finalist at the senior world championships in Baku, Babita lost her passport at the airport while returning from there. She approached the Indian Embassy in Baku who issued an official note letting her travel.

Rejected twice in 2008, Babita applied again this year, under the Tatkal Scheme. This time she stated that she had lost the passport in Bhiwani while travelling to her village.

"When I failed to get it twice, I applied under the Tatkal Scheme mentioning that I lost my passport on way to my village in the hope that I would get it this time," Babita told HT.

"But when I met a passport official in Chandigarh, I couldn't lie again and told her exactly what happened," she said. Babita then cancelled her FIR (First Information Report) in Bhiwani and submitted an affidavit to the passport office in Chandigarh stating that she had given wrong information.

An official at the Regional Passport Office in Chandigarh said following this they wrote to the Indian Embassy in Baku seeking No Objection Certificate. The official said a new passport would be issued "in no time" once that arrives and Babita pays the Rs 5,000 fine mandatory for giving wrong information.