‘Have you ever been involved in, supported, or encouraged terrorist activities in any country? Have you, ever been a member of, or given support to an organisation that has been concerned in terrorism?’
Visa forms for plenty of countries require you to answer this question; and I guess honestly. Though I wonder if a terrorist is ever going to tick Yes, but that’s another story altogether. What appears from the regular terrorist attacks on people in India is that India on the other hand seems to thrive on taking challenges. May be they do receive such applications with a Yes and also end up approving them. That seems to form the intelligence; the guys then probably pass that information to the police, who of course fail to take diligent action and ‘BOMB!’
So what happens when you tick ‘No’; well that’s something Nico Rosberg of Petronas Mercedes GP and half of the Formula 1 teams would know because they just learnt it first hand. It is ridiculous and embarrassing for India and we as Indians that visas are denied and/or rejected for sports persons, media, journalists, musicians and people of similar acclaim. Yes, we might be amongst the rare commonwealth nations to deny direct entry to British passport holders, but that’s just a fair and square protocol. No doubt, the visa should be required and must be issued with appropriate documentation, but can it and should it not be better facilitated for people who’s biography is easily available on Wikipedia coming for an event half the world knows about?
Nico Rosberg of Petronas Mercedes GP at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. For more photos on Formula 1, click here.
It is also pathetic of the customs department to levy an INR 400 crore import duty for the equipment being used for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, which is supposed to be held in Greater Noida in October 2011. They would refund the same with a 2% deduction after the goods leave India, but that is just such an opportunistic way to get some money off a privately managed event. Why; just because the government hasn’t been able to make money and mockery like the Commonwealth Games last year?
This lame, irresponsible and shallow behaviour of the Indian Ministry is not going to help an international event of the magnitude of the F1. It may be a private event, but it is going to fetch the government hoards of money in form of taxes and tourism. In any event, it is certainly not a way to spread India’s name across the many first timers who are simply excited and delighted to be coming and participating in India.