Foreigners claim Chennai to be safe but ‘Form C’ time consuming

BY AIHIK SUR

Chennai, March 30: A key registration document that enables a foreign national to function unhindered in India, ‘Form C,’ is difficult to access in many places, foreigners residing in the city said at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office.

According to the Bureau of Immigration, “Form C”, is an application, which any hotel, guesthouse or an individual home has to submit to the FRRO with the details of the residing foreigner within 24 hours of his or her arrival. On registering, the applicant receives a password which is needed for updating the application.

Subroto Saha, a Bangladeshi national, who is in India for the treatment of his wife, said that when he first came to Chennai, he put up in an individual’s house. “The house had many illegal tenants living in it. That is why they didn’t give us the Form C application”, Saha said.

We later had to move to Chennai Fertility Center’s in-house shelter to procure a Form C application, said he. “Without the document the FRRO doesn’t take appointments.”

Kelum Warnapatabendi, from Sri Lanka, works in the apparel industry engaged in exporting. He said that since he has been living in the same company provided guesthouse for the last five years, procuring a Form C application wasn’t difficult until the previous HR manager left the job.

“The new HR manager of my company doesn’t have the password to the system”, said Warnapatabendi. So for taking an appointment the new HR manager had to do the registration again, added he.

Patrick Tshibangu, from Congo, who is also the State Representative of Association of African Students in India, said, “ You talk to the landlord on the phone and he is all fine, once you go visit the new flat it turns out to see that you are an African or foreigner, he would just say no, there is no free flat or the flat is already taken. Some of those landlords have sworn not to put foreigners especially Africans in their rental houses and almost all Tamilians even Indians call all Africans Nigerians.”

“I had stayed in an area where neighbours weren’t really fine with us living around. The area was Avvai Nagar, in Padi. Even if there was a small home party, they wouldn’t hesitate to call the FRRO”, he added.

For Mifad Ahmed from Comores, an East African country, who studies Visual Communication at Madras University, problem here is of language. He said, “The professors usually speak in Tamil. They tell me they will explain in English, but it is three years now and they never do.”

Sudanese, Abdul Rahman who studied Pharmacy and Ozair who finished studying MBA this year unanimously agreed that there was a major communication problem but denied having ever felt racially abused or segregated.