Two days after The Indian Express carried the story of her ordeal while trying to get a passport, 19-year-old Kavita Hosmani, daughter of a sex worker, is now beaming with joy.
With the Ministry of External Affairs stepping in, she has now got her passport, all in 28 hours, for which she had to spend days running around only to be disappointed at every step.
Hosmani, from Kamathipura, Mumbai’s largest red-light area, can now set sail for the US as part of a global study tour following her selection for the “Semester at Sea”, organised by University of Virgina and starting January 7.
After her ordeal got highlighted in The Indian Express’s December 18 edition, Muktesh K Pardeshi, joint secretary and Chief Passport Officer at the MEA, offered to look into the issue. In a mail to this reporter on Thursday, he said, “In order to proceed further in the matter, I will appreciate you could share with us names and file numbers of applicants mentioned in your report.”
The senior officer also asked for the petitions of applicants so the matter could be looked into and resolved “satisfactorily”.
Soon after, both police and local passport officials swung into action.
“Not only did the attitude of the passport officials change, but even the police officer, who earlier threatened of arresting us, inquired about Hosmani asking when she would come to the police station for verification purposes,” says Robin Chaurasiya from Kranti, an NGO that has helped Hosmani and others like her.
“It was like everyone knew me already. It was a bit overwhelming,” says a beaming Hosmani. All she has to do now is to get half-a-dozen visas for the countries she would touch on her ship journey to the US.
“Morocco, Namibia, Burma, Vietnam, Japan and the US are some of the countries on my itinerary. This is like a dream come true and I cannot explain how happy I am,” Hosmani says.
Calling it an achievement of a lifetime, Hosmani says the trip is “extremely” important and a “stepping stone”, which would brighten her future prospects. “It was a rare opportunity for me and I was very close to not making it. But things have worked in my favour,” says the girl who joined the NGO a year ago.
Hosmani is perhaps the only Indian student to have been selected for the “Semester at Sea” programme, which goes on for over three months.
Last time when she applied, her efforts were thwarted at the stage of police verification.
Her friend Shweta Katti, who won a UN award recently, reportedly faced the same problems.