On 22nd February, Nemu Chandaria OBE , Chairman of the Institute along with the Deputy Chair, Dr Harshad Sanghrajka led a delegation of OneJAIN UK representatives to the Indian High Commission London to meet the new High Commissioner of India H E Shree Y K Sinha and to introduce the UK’s Jain Community to him.
Mr Gyan Singh welcomed the delegates and gave a brief introduction to his role in the High Commission. He responsibility was to look after the issuance of Indian passports and visas to India. The High Commissioner’s office was responsible for the OCI and PIO matters. He was happy to received enquiries directly where our community members were experiencing problems with their applications on immigration matters.
H E The High Commissioner then formally welcomed the delegates and introduced himself. Nemu Chandaria then proceeded to explain the OneJAIN structure, how the Jain communities came together and the major achievements of the community in the past 25 years.
All delegates present introduced themselves and gave a brief description of the activities undertaken by that community. High Commissioner asked if there were any particular issues that the delegation wanted to raise.
In response to the questions about OCI and PIO he mentioned that he has been monitoring the issues being raised and that he had records of only five or six queries outstanding in London Area. He then directed Mr Gyan Singh to personally attend to any queries brought through OneJAIN. Mr Singh agreed to attend one of the Navjeevan Vadil Kendra Group meetings to brief the community on the ways the High Commission can assist in resolving problems.
Issue of the High Commission staff’s attitude towards the visitors was raised. Mr Sinha said that the High Commission is aware of the problem and are trying to improve the quality of their responses. All IHC staff now wear name badges and unacceptable behaviour from any of them should be reported.
IHC holds a meeting every week on Wednesday from 11 am to 12 pm where the members of public can come and express their grievances. The High Commissioner himself holds a meeting on the last Friday of the month from 11 am to 12 pm to listen to any of the problems the public may want to bring up. These meetings are open to all and no appointment is necessary.
He appreciated the way the Jain community had come together under OneJAIN and suggested this approach of uniting together should be extended to all Indian communities. He regretted that there was so much fragmentation within the Indian diaspora. He felt that the community has much to gain by getting together and getting a well deserved recognition as a hard working community, that has blended well in to the local UK community, achieved great success in all professional and financial spheres. He said that it is only by getting this recognition that it can influence the national and political decisions. He gave the example of how the Indian diaspora had come together in the US and had influenced the change in direction of US’s international policies.
In closing, Nemu Chandaria presented the High Commissioner with a book on the Indian Art Exhibition held at the V&A Museum and a Institute’s own coffee table book outlining its 25 year history.
High Commissioner in his closing remarks said that his office was always open to the local community and would welcome suggestions on improving the IHC services to the local community.