Exiled Bangladeshi poet Daud Haider had to cancel his scheduled India trip this month after the Indian Embassy in Berlin told him that it would not be possible to give him a visa.
The Embassy told Haider, who holds a special UN visa as a “stateless person” and has travelled to India several times in the past, that he would need a clearance from the ministry of home affairs as he does not hold a regular visa. Haider was to travel for literary events throughout the month. Later he was to have been in Kolkata for the launch of his book at the Kolkata Book Fair.
“I had applied in December. I called up on Thursday to enquire about the status. There is no official communication but I was told there is no way I could get a visa,” Haider told The Indian Express.
In reply to a query on the status of Haider’s visa, Rajiv Bajpai Attache(Cons) Embassy of India, said: “Mr Haider may apply for visa. However, visa would be issued on receipt of MHA clearance as Mr Haider does not hold a regular passport and intends to visit to attend literary events.”
Haider was exiled from Bangladesh after his poem criticising radicalism and bigotry in the country was published in a Bangla daily in 1974. Haider has lived and worked in India in the past. He had last travelled to India on the special passport in 2014.
Haider moved to Berlin in 1987 with the special passport.
“I have lived in India after leaving Bangladesh, I have worked there in several newspaper offices, I have also paid taxes to the government of India. This special UN passport is a valid travel document. I could have taken a German passport but I wanted the word Bangladesh to remain on my identification document. Now it says stateless (Bangladesh). When people ask me here why I have not taken German citizenship I say I am a Bangal (person from Bangladesh), an Auslander (outsider). I will remain that,” Haider said from Berlin.
In the past (in 2006), on the same passport he was issued a multiple entry visa to India. The last immigration India stamp on his visa is dated February 4, 2014.