Saturday, January 16, 2010

Watchlist insanity comes to New Zealand

It seems that the insanity of anti-terror watchlists has arrived in New Zealand:

A 2-year-old New Zealand boy and his Indian-born mother were barred from India and, on their return to Auckland, delayed for four hours and questioned after their names appeared on a terrorism blacklist.

After a 20-hour journey to New Delhi, Shubhneet Kaur, a New Zealand citizen from Manukau, and her son, Bachint Vir Singh, were turned back to New Zealand despite holding valid tourist visas for India.

They pair arrived back in Auckland three days after their Monday evening departure - only to face a Customs interrogation about why they were on India's list of possible terrorists.

"My wife and baby boy were treated like criminals," said Ranvir Lali Singh, a builder, justice of the peace and secretary of the Auckland Sikh Society.

You would think that any reasonable person faced with a 2-year old "terrorist" would immediately realise its a false positive. But Customs and the SIS aren't paid to be reasonable, and as in the US, no-one will want to be the person who lets a Dangerous Terrorist walk free, or risk losing their job for displaying sanity. And so the lives of innocent people are ruined again because of risk aversion and arse-covering by those with power...

(As for the obvious question - how the hell can India deny entry to someone who was born there? - unfortunately unlike New Zealand they see citizenship as exclusive and do not permit dual citizenship).