Many people seeking correction of information disclosed in their passport find it hard to get it done on time.
Most of the victims described that they are forced to make such corrections keeping information on both the national identification card (NID) and the passport same.
Such corrections are often required because in many cases the information disclosed in the passport done well before the NID card, may not match. So, to coordinate with the information on both - NID and passport, it is necessary to make the correction.
“I have been trying to get corrections on age and my father’s name since the last 4 years. Since 2018, I have been visiting central passport office, including regional offices but it has all been in vain. It is my right to display accurate information and so make corrections accordingly,” Ibrahim Khalil told Bangladesh Post.
He said that his age was stated incorrect in his passport along with the incorrect spelling of his father’s name. The information is stated correctly in his national identity card and hence it does not match with the information given in the passport.
He added that the brokers have demanded large sums of money (lakhs) to get the job done. The people who are suffering from such problems belong to middle class or lower middle-class people and it is difficult for them to pay such money.
Passports of individuals are at times subjected to mistakes and being able to correct it is a right. However, many individuals face numerous problems and years of delay for making the corrections in line with their National ID and still remain unsuccessful.
Another victim of the problem, Ashraful Islam told Bangladesh Post that last April, a circular was uploaded in the website stating people requiring such corrections to apply and it will be done on time within six months.
“When we went to the concerned office, the applications were not accepted. The officials said that they have not yet received words from their superiors regarding the matter,” he said.
He further said that if paying a large amount of money to brokers can get the job done, that means that the corrections are being made. It is just the helpless people who are not being given the deserving facility.
facing similar situations, Md Arifuzzaman told Bangladesh Post that last year, he went to meet the then Additional Director General of the department of immigration and passport, Shamim Ahmed. The ADG had given him hope regarding the corrections and asked to submit papers.
“When my papers were ready, the ADG was no longer there. I went to the Director General but he disapproved my application stating that the correction was too big and cannot be done now,” he said.
He further told this correspondent that the correction was to change his age by 5 years. It was a complicated correction, however, the circular from the site in April stated that age corrections was allowed until 5 years of age but his application was not accepted.
On Sunday, a large number of people stood in a human chain in front of the passport office in the capital’s Agargaon. They demanded to speak to the authorities and confirm that the corrections of their passports will be made.
Earlier, one of the leaders of the humanchain, Mohammad Jobaith, told this correspondent that he applied for correction in 2020 in the Chattogram regional office. However, even after being accepted, it has not yet been forwarded to the Agargaon office in the capital.
“I had to take reference from a member of the parliament in order to get my application accepted. Even after that, it has not yet been forwarded. The office in Dhaka say they cannot do anything if my application is not received from the regional office,” he said.
Upon contacting the regional office in Chattagram, calls from the correspondent were rejected multiple times.
Rubaiyat Ferdous, Assistant Director General of the Agargaon Passport Office, said, “The age difference between some people with voter ID and certificate is 8 to 10 years. But the circular given to us by the government can be changed up to a maximum of 5 years. Now we have nothing to do with their demands.”
However, most of the people involved in the chain have claimed that their corrections are mostly age related of under 5 years or correction in parts of names.
Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP) Director General Mohammad Ayub Chowdhury or Additional Director General Selina Banu could not be contacted by this correspondent to obtain their comments.