From Russia without
Visa seekers at the Embassy face alleged harassment
Complaints against an officer attached to the
Russian Embassy in Colombo are on the rise with allegations that
persons calling over for visas were being harassed.
Recently the visa officer had allegedly assaulted
the 70-year-old father of a medical student who called over at the
embassy to get a visa for his son to continue his medical studies
in Moscow.The son is a final year student of the People's Friendly
University in Moscow.
He had to visit the embassy four or five times
in the past two months, as this particular officer had not been
satisfied with the documents produced by the father.The victim has
complained regarding the matter to the Cinnamon Gardens police saying
he was kicked by the officer when he went to seek a visa for his
In a petition addressed to the Russian Ambassador
in Sri Lanka, a lecturer at a government institution had complained
that when he went to the Russian Embassy in Colombo to get a visa
extension for his brother who was studying in the Postgraduate Department
of the Moscow Medical Academy, the Russian diplomat had refused
to speak to him. He said he went to seek a fresh visa for his brother
whose visa was expiring soon. His brother could not go personally
as he had broken his leg in a motor cycle accident.
“Though I took a medical certificate issued
by a registered medical doctor, the visa officer was not willing
to speak to me,” he said.
Another complaint was from the vice-president of the Sri Lanka-Russia
Friendship Society Ven. Pallekande Ratnasara Thera who had applied
for an entry visa. He said he had been asked very impertinent questions
by the official in question.
Yet another complaint was from a judge who had
recently called to obtain an entry visa and had been asked to stay
outside and unduly delayed for more than an hour without a reason.
There were also complaints that when young couples
go to obtain entry visas the female partner is admitted and interviewed
leaving the husband outside and the visa granted to only one of
Sri Lankan students are said to have organised
a picketing campaign opposite the Russian Embassy to bring to the
notice of the authorities the difficulties they undergo at the hands
of this officer when seeking visas. However it has been thwarted
with the intervention of the Sri Lanka-Russia Friendship Society.
Society general secretary Dilantha Vidanage said
he received a number of complaints from people who visited the Embassy
and were allegedly harassed by the officer.
He said he had personally witnessed this visa
official talking in undiplomatic and rude language to a Buddhist
monk who is respected here and as well as in Russia. He said Russian
diplomats here as well as in Russia have been maintaining a very
cordial relationship with Sri Lankans and it was pathetic to see
the behaviour of this officer.
When The Sunday Times contacted the Russian Embassy
in Colombo on Friday to inquire about the allegations, the response
was ‘no comment.’