An Indian national was denied entry into the UAE after refusing an immigration official’s demand to shave off his moustache in a bizarre incident at an airport in the Gulf state, it was reported.
According to local daily Gulf News, Sujeev Kumar flew into Sharjah International Airport from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Friday, when an official withheld his passport after objecting to his facial hair.
Kumar claimed that the unnamed officer refused to return his travel document after stamping it. “After stamping my passport, he kept looking at me and the picture in the passport. He asked me how I keep my moustache brushed and laughed,” Kumar told the newspaper.
Kumar claimed that the immigration officer continued to query him on his moustache in an official tone. “He finally told me: ‘If you agree to shave off your moustache, I will let you to go’ and kept my passport with him,” he said. “He kept my passport and told me very seriously again to remove my moustache if I wanted it back and called the next person in line.”
Kumar said that his passport was only returned after asking to speak to the immigration officer’s superior at the airport. He was then permitted to enter the country.
Brigadier Dr Abdullah Bin Sahoo, director general of the Sharjah Department of Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs, told Gulf News that that CCTV images are being studied as part of an investigation into the incident.