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Denial of diplomatic passport: Tharoor hits out at External Ministry

Denial of diplomatic passport: Tharoor hits out at External Ministry

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on Friday hit out at the Ministry of External Affairs for denying Local Self Government minister KT Jaleel a diplomatic passport to coordinate welfare efforts in Saudi Arabia.

Calling the move by the External Ministry ‘deplorable behaviour, Tharoor asked in a tweet that why the affected state shouldn't send its own minister to see to the welfare of its citizens.

He asked K T Jaleel to move ahead with an ordinary passport even if External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj doesn’t intervene and clears his visit.

Jaleel, who was asked by the state government to fly to Saudi Arabia to coordinate efforts with Kerala cultural groups amid reports of hundreds of Keralites in the Gulf kingdom having been rendered jobless and facing a food crisis, Thursday evening said he was denied a diplomatic passport.

Speaking to reporters here, Jaleel said that he is surprised by the turn of events.

"We were expecting to fly out to Saudi Arabia the moment my visit was cleared. When we checked out on the website, we were surprised to see that my application for a diplomatic passport was denied. It's too early to say if there was a political motive behind the denial," he said.

The state cabinet on Wednesday had asked Jaleel and state government official V.J. Baby to fly to Saudi Arabia to meet up with the people of Kerala who are reported to have been holed up in labour camps, many of them being denied salaries and finding it tough to get food and water, following the financial problems being faced by a few Saudi Arabian companies.

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