London: The High Commission in London is one of India’s largest and oldest missions abroad and the focal point of the nation’s relationship with Britain.
But its grandeur is incompatible with how it is described by some online petitioners in the United Kingdom.
A petition on CHANGE.ORG has been scathing in its criticism of the treatment meted out to some at the Indian High Commission.
The petition – which urges the Mission to ‘stop treating Indians like garbage’ — has now been signed by over 900 people online.
The petition was the brainchild of Arun Asokan, an IT professional, who launched it in the wake of an unpleasant experience at the Indian High Commission.
“I had gone there for the birth registration of my two-month-old son. I was armed with all the documents mentioned on the website. When I finally reached the counter after waiting in the queue for four hours, from 6 am, I was told the information on the website was wrong and I needed to find the correct information from my sources,” he said.
He also claimed that the staffers at the Indian High Commission act rudely with visitors.
“I have been there thrice and each time they were equally rude. No matter how many documents or photos you have, in accordance with the information available on the website, they will still be rude to you,” said Mr Asokan.
On any given day, a long queue of applicants can be seen waiting outside the High Commission.
When queried about the complaints against the mission, Ranjan Mathai, Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said that he would be happy to take the suggestions provided by the petitioners.
“We have started a system of e-appointments. Plus, we also have a public response unit and (we are working towards) improving the way in which we handle some of the services. I hope we will be able to deal with some of the online petitioners. The first thing I am going to do is to come and speak very freely and candidly about how we can improve and I will be happy to take their suggestions,” he said.
The High Commission has also updated its website and agreed to hold a dialogue with the petitioners.