A woman resident of Bengaluru was allegedly verbally sexually harassed by an immigration officer at Delhi’s IGI airport, after which the Home Ministry placed him under suspension.
The immigration officer, Vinod Kumar, allegedly asked the woman some sexually explicit questions while checking the her passport and other travel documents after she reached the national capital from Bengaluru on her way to Hong Kong.
“I was verbally sexually harassed by an immigration officer at Delhi airport on March 18 night before I boarded a plane to Hong Kong,” she told PTI in Bengaluru today.
The woman alleged that the immigration officer asked many unpleasant and private questions while clearing the decks at the immigration counter.
“Do you sleep with another man when your husband is away at work? Would you like to have your third child with me because my wife doesn’t want to have the third child,” the immigration officer allegedly asked the woman.
The officer also told her: “have you done birth control surgery?....why are you going alone to Hong Kong? To have fun with your husband or with anyone else. Will you have fun with me?”
“What was more disgusting and uncomfortable was that the official followed me along the travelator, between domestic and international transfer,” she claimed.
Taking cognisance of the incident, the Home Ministry has placed the immigration officer under suspension with immediate effect and ordered a departmental inquiry.
The father-in-law of the victim, a former head of a Karnataka commerce and industry body, in his online complaint mailed to the Commissioner, Bureau Of Immigration, Delhi, P K Bhardwaj, said his daughter-in-law lodged an oral complaint on her return from Hong Kong on March 23 at the airport along with her husband and son.
“Since my daughter-in-law was travelling alone and was in a state of shock, she only lodged an oral complaint on her return from Hong Kong,” he said.
Soon after the incident was brought to the notice of the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) Alok Kumar Verma, he said the officer directed the family to lodge an online complaint to the Commissioner of Bureau of Immigration.
On a quick interrogation, the official denied he had spoken to her by leaving his desk and followed her on the travelator, at the transfer area, he said.
“As soon as the accused was summoned in AFRRO’s cabin, my daughter-in-law recognised him. He was blabbering while replying to queries posed by his boss - symptoms of his guilt, you know,” he said.
He said he would wait for another six days for immigration officials to initiate action against the accused official or otherwise he would take up the matter with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.