Bangladeshi journalists stopped over visa confusion

October 3rd, 2010 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) Five Bangladeshi journalists here to cover the Commonwealth Games were stopped by Indian officials at the border in West Bengal for over four hours for not having visas, they said Sunday.

The journalists from the National News Agency of Bangladesh and United News of Bangladesh were stopped Saturday at Petrapol border on the Indian side for not having visas.

The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CWGOC) had sent them invites and accreditation cards which said these would be treated as the visa, the journalists said.

“We had to wait for four hours at the border as the immigration officials did not allow us to cross on the strength of the CWGOC invitation although it should be treated as visa,” journalist Syed Mohammed Mamoon told IANS.

The journalists complained that because of the delay, they missed their bus to the Kolkata railway station.

Mohammed Mustafa Kamal said: “We had to wait for an hour for the next bus. We were without food and water at the border. Nobody at the immigration office knew anything about the arrangements for foreign journalists coming to cover the Games.

“I have covered several sporting events across the world and never faced such a problem. Even at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, accreditation card was treated as visa,” said Mohammed Mustafa Kamal, another reporter.

Accredited journalists have been given non-validated passes (NVP) through their respective associations. These are to be treated as an authority to travel to India without a visa on passport from Sep 3 to Nov 13.

“NVP holders need not apply for an Indian visa to enter India,” said the CWGOC guidelines.

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