Citizenship of man stranded in India for 31 years to be confirmed

October 23rd, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) A Malaysian Indian, who was stranded in India for the past 31 years, may be allowed to return home here after officials confirm his citizenship.C.K. Ravindran, when contacted in Hyderabad in India, reiterated that he had never applied for an Indian passport and had never voted in any general election in India, The Star newspaper said Thursday.

“The Malaysian authorities are free to investigate if I had applied for any citizenship documents here,” he said, adding that he had no problems living in India without proper identification.

“The only setback is that I have to switch jobs many times,” said Ravindran, a widower who has a 26-year-old daughter Jyothi.

Malaysian Foreign Ministry consular division head Aiyuaf Bauchi told The Star newspaper Thursday that the authorities would have to determine about his citizenship before they could consider granting Ravindran a travel document.

The newspaper said it continues to receive calls from Ravindran’s schoolmates from St Paul’s Institution and Tuanku Muhammad School in Kuala Pilah.

His former neighbours from Bahau Estate, where his father worked, also called to verify his claim.

“We have told our consulate in Chennai to establish if he was holding an Indian passport as he has lived there for many years.

“If he had a Malaysian passport, then there should be no problem granting him a travel document to come home,” the official said.

“We would have to look at the documents which Ravindran surrendered to our consulate in Chennai. We should be able to determine if he is eligible for a Malaysian document within a week,” Aiyuaf said.

Ravindran was born at the Malacca General Hospital June 25, 1948 and has a valid birth certificate and blue identity card.

He went to India in 1967 for his tertiary education and graduated as a foam rubber technologist in 1973. He then married an Indian girl and planned to return home.

However, their trip was delayed when his baby daughter died.

Before his passport expired in February 1977, Ravindran went to the consulate in Chennai for an extension, where he surrendered his identity card and birth certificate.

However, nothing came of it despite numerous trips to the consulate and the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi. The National Registration Department subsequently confirmed his birth here and his blue identity card.

Ravindran forms part of the 2.6 million ethnic Indian community, a bulk of it from Tamil Nadu, that moved to Malaysia during the British era. It forms roughly eight percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.

Ethnic Indians complain of harassment by the Malaysian authorities, including the Rela militia, that is looking for illegal entrants and settlers.

The Star last month carried a case of Gomathy, a young woman who was picked up from a coffee shop and jailed since she was not carrying her identification papers at that time. It was several months before the authorities realised their mistake and she was released from jail, where she gave birth to a baby girl.

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