Russia protests priest's deportation

Russian media goes to town and labels it a bureaucratic incident.

Chennai/New Delhi: The deportation of a Russian orthodox priest for carrying an invalid visa by immigration authorities at the Chennai international airport on Sunday has kicked up a diplomatic storm with the Russian embassy stating it was “disrespectful”.

A statement on the embassy website on Father Superior Serafim’s deportation read: “The Embassy of the Russian Federation condemns the deportation of a Russian citizen, Father Seraphim, by the immigration authorities of the Chennai international airport.” It added that Russian diplomats were denied contact with the priest at the airport for seven hours, which was “unacceptable” and that he (the Father) was also denied basic assistance, including food, despite the requests from the Embassy and the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Chennai. Meanwhile, Russian News Agency Tass quoted Russian Consul General in Chennai Sergei Korova as saying that it was “a bureaucratic rather than political incident.”

Hegumen Serafim is the superior of an Orthodox church officially registered in New Delhi. He arrived in Chennai from Pakistan and filled in document for an electronic visa introduced in India last year.

The bitterness ironically comes just a few weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia during which there was a re-affirmation of India's strategic ties with that country. India has historically had close ties with Russia and previously, the Soviet Union. Russia has been providing critical technology to India, particularly in the defence sector, that no other foreign country has ever provided but there have been strains in recent times, primarily over what Russia perceives is India's strategic shift and increasing proximity to the United States.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
Next Story