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Indian diplomat's fate uncertain

The envoy had apparently antagonised sections of the Indian community in New Zealand.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 11:08 IST

The fate of India's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Harish Kumar Dogra, who has been recalled by New Delhi, remains unclear even as a section of the Indian community has come out in his support.

Dogra, a 1972 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, was reportedly asked by the Indian external affairs ministry in the middle of last month to return and was given a two-week deadline. But the signs are that he is not going to return without a fight.

Dogra has apparently antagonised sections of the Indian community in New Zealand by refusing them visas. But there are others who believe that he is the victim of a sustained campaign by some people.

In an interview to the Dominion Post newspaper, Dogra defended himself against the criticism of how visas were issued, saying that new systems he had introduced had made it cheaper and easier to obtain them.

The controversy reached its peak when Dogra's wife, Neeta Dogra, walked into the High Commission last month and handed over her diplomatic passport saying she did not want to be the wife of a diplomat because of what was happening to her husband.

Meanwhile, supporters of Dogra held a rally in front of the High Commission in Wellington. Rally organiser Paramjit Singh submitted a petition demanding the reasons behind Dogra's recall and seeking assurances that he has been dealt with in a fair manner.

According to Indian Newslink, another ethnic paper, Hamilton-based Country Section NZ Association president Surjeet S Bindra has also sent a letter of support of Dogra in which he claimed having told the New Zealand Indian Central Association to issue a similar letter of support.

"We urge you to send these supporting letters to the government of India to cancel or withdraw the recall notice, if it has been sent," Bindra was quoted as saying in the statement.

This is not the first time that Dogra has been dogged by controversies. He was earlier recalled as Consulate General in Istanbul following problems with India's former ambassador to Turkey, RM Abhyankar.

While the Indian government had a "no comments" stand on the matter, Dogra was quoted in the Dominion Post as saying, "Communications between me and my government are between us."

The mystery of the envoy's recall continues to deepen.

First Published: Apr 08, 2006 11:08 IST