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Faith trip turns into four-year nightmare

Nasik Swami And Mere Naleba
Monday, April 07, 2014

A SUVA woman who went on a religious pilgrim to India has been stranded there for four years.

Savita Devi, 41, of Samabula had her visa expired in 2010 and Indian authorities in Bangalore are not allowing her to return home until she gets a re-entry visa.

In an interview from her flat in Puttaparti yesterday, an emotional Ms Devi said she had no money to survive.

"I came here on a pilgrim. It was my wish. When my visa was about to expire I gave it to a travel agent who failed to renew my visa on time," she said.

"I thought my visa was renewed, so I asked my brother to send me $A1000 ($F1600) to purchase my air ticket and return home."

Ms Devi said she purchased the air ticket and went to Bangalore Airport where she was not allowed to board the plane.

"They told me that my foreign registration was not complete and my visa had expired.

"I was told that I cannot travel until I get a re-entry visa," she said.

Ms Devi said the Indian Immigration was not giving her the right reasons on why she could not to return to Fiji.

She said she was surviving on money being sent to her from her families in Fiji and at times had no food to eat.

Ms Devi said she also visited the Fiji High Commission in New Delhi for help.

"They wrote a letter to the Indian authorities in Bangalore asking them to grant me permission to leave. Nothing has been done."

She said she would travel to New Delhi again today to seek the high commission's help.

Her sister, Shanti Pillay, of New Zealand, said their elderly mother was worried about her sister.

"I visited her last year and together we went to Delhi and met the first secretary of the Fiji High Commission to India. He had written a letter for us to take to the Immigration Department," she said.

"I really don't know what they (Indian Immigration) want from us, because if they are keeping her as an illegal immigrant then they should deport her."

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