NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young has responded to an alleged incident at the Point Fortin Immigration Office, saying a woman applying for a passport was never asked to remove the sindoor from her forehead.
He was responding to a question in the Senate on Tuesday from Opposition Senator Wade Mark about reports that a woman at the Point Fortin Immigration Office was instructed to wipe the sindoor off her forehead. A sindoor is a red mark denoting that a Hindu woman is married.
Young said the Immigration Division adhered to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements on machine-readable passports, and listed a number of guidelines.
"The Immigration Division is respectful of all religious and cultural practices. However, it should be noted that passport applications with photos that do not match the ICAO specifications are liable to be rejected by foreign immigration authorities, and could result in extreme inconvenience to the passport holder."
On the incident at Point Fortin, he said the applicant was asked by the interviewing officer to adjust the sindoor as it extended beyond her hairline, and was not "instructed to remove" it as reported by the media.