The SDPI delegation, which met with MIA officials, filed a memorandum in this regard on Saturday.
Aboobakar Kulai, Chairman of SDPI District, Dakshina Kannada, alleged that NRIs from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod districts in Kerala use the airport to travel to the Gulf and other countries. In recent years, passengers departing and arriving at this airport have been victims of harassment and psychological abuse, he alleged.
Explaining various types of harassment, he said that since MIA only has direct flights to Gulf countries, it is common to buy tickets to travel on a connecting flight from one country to another, however , if a passenger has such air tickets, the staff requires passengers to produce the visa of both countries.
“The agents also complain of errors in the passport. For example, if a passenger has a minimum visa validity, they are unnecessarily subjected to irrelevant questions,” he said. They also make statements like “You are not allowed to travel overseas”. A first passenger is viewed with suspicion and passengers who visit multiple times are asked about the purpose of the trip, he said.
“Those arriving from abroad are also not spared,” the SDPI alleged, adding that they are being harassed with fines for bringing used cell phones, wearing jewelry and seizing items like toys and electronic gadgets.
Members also expressed apprehension over many testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the rapid RT-PCR test, despite negative certificates from ICMR-approved labs.
“The majority of those who go abroad are poor blue-collar workers. Such harassment inflicted on them is unacceptable,” they said, adding that all these incidents forced several passengers to avoid flying from MIA and traveling overseas from airports in Bengaluru, Kerala and mumbai.
They demanded to rectify this issue and allow smooth passenger travel at MIA. MIA officials were not available for comment.