Nobel laureate faces visa hassles
Chennai: Nobel laureate Professor Kurt Wüthrich had to go back to his family roots and give information even on his grandmother’s name just to get an Indian visa that he needed to come to IIT-Madras to deliver a lecture.
His visa application was sent back thrice for flimsy reasons and he was also charged extra as he was to attend an educational conference in India. In an interaction with reporters at IIT-Madras on the sidelines of Nobel laureate lecture series on Friday, Prof Kurt Wüthrich lamented that he and his wife had to fill up a four-page visa application and the Indian officials even asked his grand mother’s name in the visa document. “My secretary took two days to fill in the form as it had numerous details to be filled in and the visa application was sent back to me thrice on flimsy grounds,” he said.
Further, he said that his wife’s visa got cleared and his application got delayed, as the Indian government wanted him to pay an additional 70 Swiss francs to attend educational conference at IIT-Madras.
“It is not that I cannot pay 70 francs but why does the Indian government want to charge extra stating that I am not only a tourist. This is not the first time but second time for me,” Prof Wüthrich who was awarded Nobel prize for Chemistry in 2002, said.
Countering the charges made by the Nobel laureate, Prof R. Nagarajan, dean of international relations and alumni affairs at IIT-Madras pointed out that IIT faculty too faced a similar problem with governments in other countries.
“Several countries have denied visa for our faculty and that too when they see the word aerospace in the visa document they immediately reject our visa application. So this is common in all countries,” he said.
Prof Wüthrich also pointed out that India’s lack of investment in laboratory infrastructure would slow down the progress of research in the country.