Cases of citizens from certain western and northern European nations, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Nordic countries, misusing their visas and indulging in alleged “subversive” activities in Maoist-affected areas have compelled the government to put in place stricter norms for those applying for visa from these countries.
It has been learnt that Look out Notices (LoN) were issued against four citizens from these countries last year for alleged “subversive” activities in Maoist-controlled areas including a Dutch national, who masqueraded as a student at Jawaharlal Nehru University but spent time in Chhattisgarh.
Lisa de Haan came to India in mid- March and left at the end of May last year. She was on a tourist visa but pretended to be a researcher and stayed at JNU hostel, official sources alleged. She was being suspected of subversive activities. Lisa reportedly frequented Maoist-dominated areas in Chhattisgarh during her stay in India.
This year, LoN have been issued against two people from western European countries.
In these cases the persons had travelled to India on tourist and student visas, respectively, but misused them by indulging in suspected “information gathering” and other “subversive activities”, official sources claimed.
The sources said it has been noticed that such people have been frequenting Maoist- affected states of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
A person against whom LoN has been issued is barred from obtaining an Indian visa.
It is believed that an official of European origin, belonging to a reputed international NGO and is currently in India, may also come under the scanner for travelling to an area which was not authorised while the visa was issued.
Last year, a Dutch national was not granted visa following a LoN against him.
It is understood that the person had earlier visited India on a tourist visa but went to Jammu and Kashmir to shoot a film.
Officials admitted that while Indian embassies, particularly in western and northern European countries, have been asked to maintain strict norms while issuing visas by checking an applicant’s antecedents and purpose of the visit, it is difficult to understand the motive of the first-timers travelling to India. The diplomatic missions have been directed to seek the reason behind an applicant’s visit in clear terms while he or she applies for visa.
“This, however, is not enough to prevent foreigners, especially the first-timers, with suspicious motives from visiting India. Therefore, a system has been evolved to monitor their activities after they arrive in India so that they can be prevented from visiting the country in future,” an official explained.