‘Nine hours I spent in your country were the scariest’: Mumbai woman held up in Georgia shares her ordeal
Khushbu Kaushal, a resident of Mumbai, was held up during immigration check after she landed in Georgia. She then shared her harrowing experience on Facebook.india Updated: Jul 07, 2017 13:06 IST
Before taking a flight from Mumbai to Georgia, Khushbu Kaushal did not for one moment think she would have to face “the most humiliating night” of her life in the eastern European country.
Kaushal planned a solo vacation to Georgia for her annual break because it was rated the best country for solo women travellers. However, it turned out to be a nightmare when she landed in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
The Mumbai resident shared her story on Facebook addressing the post to Archil Dzuliashvili, the Georgian ambassador to India. Her July 3 post has been shared by 3,800 people and over 4,000 have reacted.
According to Kaushal, her ordeal began during immigration check after she landed in Tbilisi at 5pm Georgia time on June 29 and was asked to move to an unmarked counter so that the officers could take a look at her travel papers.
“After waiting for half-and-hour, one of the officers took my interview asking me my purpose of the visit, he had a look at all my papers and cracked a joke as well. Since all of it was pleasant so far I was expecting quick approvals...” Kaushal writes in her Facebook account.
She said she was carrying all necessary documents, as she was travelling alone and to a foreign land.
“After three hours of my arrival to Tbilisi I was not yet given any information or attended to, so I went to ask for my status and was then told that I am being sent back. When I requested for a reason I was shouted at and told to sit in a corner...”
Her nightmare just didn’t end there. Kaushal said she was made to wait for six hours without being offered food or water and had to “beg” the immigration officers for something to eat and drink. “Not a request sir, it was literal begging. I was dehydrated, hungry, with a terrible headache and body ache all thanks to no water, food or rest on account of travelling for about more than 12 hours,” she wrote.
Kaushal said she was allowed to buy food and water seven hours after she reached the country.
“Two and a half hours later one of your immigration officers came to the room that I was held up in and started shouting that I should go now as the flight they were sending me back on was ready. I was rushed to the flight and when I asked for my passport it was said that I will not be handed it to me till I reach Mumbai. The nine hours I spent in your country were the scariest and the worst of my travelling life.”
As she came back to India, Indian immigration officers told Kaushal that she had provided “false information” about her reason to travel, which is why was sent back.
“I would like to understand on what basis did the gentleman who interviewed me came to that decision? All my papers were legit and as per what was guided by your visa portal so where did I go wrong?” she asked.
“My friends who checked with Indian MEA found a contradictory issue that was reported to them but not filed, it was that my passport was damaged and potentially duplicated. I challenge you to take a look at my passport and tell me that if my passport is good enough for other countries that I have travelled to then what was the problem in yours.”
Archil Dzuliashvili, the Georgian ambassador to India, in a written response, said, “We have received message of Ms. Kaushal on the Embassy Facebook page and the issue immediately was transferred to the Georgian 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. I 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,” he added.
The Georgian ministry of internal affairs also commented on the matter by publishing a statement on their website, saying, “We would like to clarify that during the crossing the state border of Georgia, the border guards have the right granted by the existing legislation to refuse a foreign citizen to enter the country when a citizen does not provide convincing answers during interviews or gives false information about the purpose of the visit.”
“Citizens are checked in border crossing points using the world-wide, universally recognized methods. The same procedures are carried out in relation to the Georgian citizens while crossing state borders of other countries,” it added.
In June, 6517 citizens of India have crossed Georgian state border, according the ministry.
Apart from Kaushal’s friends, people from Georgia shared their regret on the way Kaushal was treated.