Skip to main content

Top ex-Swiss diplomat Vögele deported from Ahmedabad airport as Modi opposed protectionism at WEF, Davos

By Rajiv Shah
A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi mounted a powerful defense of globalization at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland (January 23), in a little known development, India's immigration officials deported a veteran Swiss ex-diplomat from Ahmedabad airport, allegedly without providing any reason as to why they were doing so.
Without naming US President Donald Trump, Modi had said, “Instead of globalization, the power of protectionism is putting its head up.
Bringing the "surprising" incident to light, Kurt Vögele, 75, in his letter dated January 29, 2018, to Sibi George, Indian Ambassador in Switzerland, Berne, says, "While arriving at Ahmedabad Airport I had an awfully bad experience: My visa, which I had obtained by end of December 2017 in Berne, was rejected by the immigration officials."
Kurt Vögele
The letter, copies of which he has sent to Dr I Cassis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation; A Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland in India; and R Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland, says, "I was just told that I had no right to enter India, that I was blacklisted and that I had to return to Switzerland immediately."
"My insistence on having a valid visa, on wanting to phone my friends who were awaiting me as well as on wanting to know the reasons for my deportation was totally ignored", the letter says, adding, "My arguments, especially my asking for the reasons for this decision were not considered at all. My passport also was not given back to me; it was returned to me only after landing in Geneva", the letter continues.
Calling it a "humiliating experience", and direct result of "an arbitrary decision, not worthy of a country I have learned to respect and appreciate", Vögele recalls, he has lived in India for 13 years in three spells, "mainly in the diplomatic function as Country Director of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), which is part of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
Insisting that he has been "wronged, saddened and violated", Vögele says, "I am in a situation where I am prevented from visiting old and profoundly cherished friends, from working and exchanging with them on themes of Human and Institutional Development, from maintaining deep ties as well as from accepting invitations from members of former partners of SDC..."
Apprehending a "connection", Vögele says, "I was informed that my colleague, Josef Imfeld, who was from 2000 to 2005 also at the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi, and who was mainly in charge of regional programmes of SDC, was denied an entry visa for India", adding, "We both are really perplexed and need to know why."
Josef Imfeld
Linked with India since1969, when he started to work with SDC as the Indian Desk Officer in Berne, during his first spell in India (l972-73), Vögele was, among others, in contact with top expert MS Swaminathan, then Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and conducted a study with the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) on usefulness of crossbreeding in Kerala.Calling it the "first study of its kind in India", the letter says, " It was the beginning of a long, stimulating and enriching relationship with the country where I was able to put all my energy into it and from where I also received a lot. I was among other duties for many years in charge of the Asia Division of SDC in Berne, before my last spell as Country Director (Counsellor) in the Swiss Embassy in Delhi (from 2000 to the end of 2005)."
"In these almost 40 years of my professional relationship with India I could help to develop the programme of SDC in India substantially (for instance partnerships with Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), with NABARD, with MILMA (Malabar Union), Calicut, and the Kerala Institute for Local Administration (Thrissur)", he says.

Comments

Medha Patkar said…
It is obvious that Modi government's suspicion has and always have taken over all claims and advantages of globalisation,as in the case of Mr.Kurt.Diplomats too are not spared what about minorities and common people struggling for justice.
Uma Sheth said…
What a shame!

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”