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A missive keeps them on cloud nine

For Immigration officials at the Tiruchi Airport, who cannot help being suspicious towards all air travellers by virtue of their profession, a letter praising their duty-consciousness from one such passenger subjected to a discomforting enquiry month has put them on cloud nine. Mohamed Rafikhan, a passenger based at UAE, had, at the bidding of his business partner and friend, Nandagopal, brought the latter's two-year-old daughter, Preethi, with him to India two months ago, and left her with her grandmother in Tiruchi. While returning to UAE along with the child earlier this month, he was subjected to an intense enquiry by the Immigration department officers, purportedly, to rule out child trafficking.

Mr. Mohamed, who was asked by the Immigration Inspector, K. Sridharan, to produce the letter of consent from Mr. Nandagopal for taking the child along, had reportedly pleaded ignorance of the norm.

However, Mr. Sridharan exhibited enough flexibility at the crucial time, minutes before take off of the flight, by contacting Mr. Nandagopal in the UAE over phone in order to determine the veracity of Mr. Mohamed's claim. Subsequently, Mr. Mohamed was permitted to take the child.

But Mr. Sridharan made it a point to contact Mr. Nandagopal again on the next day to verify whether his child had arrived safely.

The Immigration officials were proud to despatch to the media a letter signed by both, Mr. Mohamed and Mr. Nandagopal, in which they "saluted" the officials describing them as `true public servants'.

From R. Krishnamoorthy in Tiruchi

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