Ex-envoy entry bar

New Delhi: The home ministry has sought a report from the Bureau of Immigration asking why a former Swiss diplomat was not allowed to enter India after the 75-year-old wrote to the government saying he had been turned back from Ahmedabad airport last month.

Kurt Vogele, who had earlier served in India, was told he had to return immediately after he landed in Ahmedabad on January 22.

Sources said the decision might be linked to the Swiss Development Corporation's funding for the Navsarjan Trust, which has been championing the cause of Dalits in Gujarat and other parts of the country.

Vogele is a senior official of the SDC.

In 2016, the Narendra Modi government had cancelled the Trust's FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) licence on the grounds that the Dalit rights organisation was indulging in "anti-national activities which was detrimental to the harmony of the country".

Sources in the ministry said Vogele had written to India's foreign affairs ministry, saying that he was not even told why he was being denied entry.

The sources said the former diplomat was told by immigration officials he had no right to enter India as he had been blacklisted and would have to return to Switzerland immediately.

Vogele, in his letter, also mentioned that the officials did not allow him to speak to his friends who had come to receive him at Ahmedabad airport, according to the sources.

He complained that his passport was not given back to him and it was returned only after he had landed in Geneva. Details of the flight on which he was sent back are not known.

Vogele said he wanted to know the reasons "for such unilateral behaviour by a country I cherish for its democratic institutions", the sources said quoting from his letter.


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