An airport immigration officer who repeatedly asked a woman personal questions, including whether she slept with other men while her husband was away, has been arrested and suspended from duty while a full investigation takes place.
The victim was a female passenger about to depart India for Hong Kong. While waiting at the immigration counter before boarding the flight to meet her husband, she was stopped for questioning.
The immigration officer started by asking probing and seemingly unnecessary questions “like how many children I have, do I drink, do I smoke or eat chicken”, the woman told Indian news channel Times Now.
“He also asked me whether I sleep with other men when my husband is at work,” the woman alleged.
“Not once or twice, but he asked me four times if I had undergone a surgery for birth control.”
When the immigration officer asked her if she would like to have her third child with him, the woman, understandably, became alarmed.
The immigration officer not only harassed her during the immigration process, but then followed her, stalker-style, as she walked along the moving walkway between the domestic and international transfer, she told Times Now.
By the time the woman returned from her trip to Hong Kong, her father-in-law had laid an official complaint with Delhi Police.
Police considered that an offence had been committed and arrested the immigration officer. A media outcry over the alleged harassment has seen the Home Ministry, which is in charge of Immigration, suspend the suspect from work and set up a departmental inquiry.
The woman’s story drew a strong response from readers when it was related on the Yahoo News India site.
“Misbehaving with the passengers, especially Indian passengers, is very common,” one respondent said.
Another wrote: “Indian Immigration Officers at Mumbai airport are particularly bad. They look and look at you, especially if you are a woman with no children.”
A third writer called for “Arabic rules” to be imposed for such cases, with culprits tied to a pillar and stoned to death.
Written by Peter Needham