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India forced to issue denial as anger grows over visas in Sri Lanka

The Indian High Commission in Colombo was forced to deny any Indian involvement with issuing visas in Sri Lanka, after a viral video alleged an Indian company had taken over the processing of visas at Colombo’s international airport.

Chaos ensued at the Bandaranaike International Airport after an irate Sri Lankan man berated officials for reportedly allowing Indian firms to take over the issuance of visas on behalf of Sri Lankans. A viral video shows the individual in question arguing with officials at the airport after his companion was apparently denied a visa.

“How can [an] Indian guy decide my visa situation for my wife?” the man exclaims. “How can [an] Indian decide this? This is Sri Lanka!”

“This is [an] Indian company here! They are issuing visa for all tourists and taking money from all these tourists. How can this be possible?

The Sri Lankan government is selling government process to Indian companies. This Indian mafia! This is Indian mafia issuing visas!

This is what war happened in this country, because of these people!"

When the man was apparently asked to queue alongside other tourists, he seems to refuse, stating “I’m a taxpayer of this country, why should I stay in line?”

“I’m a local person. Sri Lankan people. No Indian people... You people are not capable enough to do this! You people are not capable! Like your country! Like your country people! This people, Indian people, started a war in our country!”

The Indian High Commission in Colombo swiftly issued a communique on their X (Twitter) handle stating that the company in charge of processing visas in Colombo “are not Indian based or Indian and are headquartered elsewhere.”

“Any reference to India in this context is unwarranted,” it stated.

Though it has not been confirmed the company that handles visa processing at the Colombo airport is VFS Global. Though it was originally founded it India, it is now headquartered in Dubai, with the US-based Blackstone Group being the largest shareholder.

News 1st reached out to Viyani Gunathilaka, the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security, to seek clarification regarding the incident, who said that a technical glitch caused the temporary suspension of the on-arrival visa issuance process for foreigners last night.

The issue had been swiftly rectified he added.

However, the viral video has now stirred up controversy regarding the contract awarded to VFS Global, who have been accused of hiking up visa processing fees, and around the growing Indian industrial involvement on the island.

India has recently been expanding its footprint in Sri Lanka, and the Tamil North-East in particular, as it has launched several new business projects. There has, however, been longstanding Sinhala opposition to an Indian presence on the island.

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