Leading Bengali film actress Rituparna Sengupta was harassed for hours at the Toronto Pearson International Airport despite having a valid visa and other travel documents, the celebrated artist alleged Saturday.
Sengupta, now in Canada to attend a Banga Sammelan, broke down during her ordeal Thursday as she was kept waiting for five and a half hours as the authorities even asked the actress to leave the country.
Sengutpa said she reached the airport Thursday evening along with a wheelchair-bound aunt.
“The immigration officials started quizzing me. They wanted to know why I was visiting Toronto and asked me to name the companies which were paying me.
“I told them I had gone there to attend the film festival of the Banga Sammelan which is kickstarting with the movie ‘Mukti’ in which I have acted. But they were not satisfied,” she said.
Sengupta was then taken to another room and told that she was not eligible to visit Canada as her visa had expired.
“I said my visa was valid till 2015. They did not relent. I was told the documents like visa were only for flying and it was their discretion whether or not to let me enter their country.
“I was interrogated for five and a half hours. I told them you are free to do your research because I have all valid documents. My husband Sanjoy (Chakraborty) called me up, but before I could talk to him properly, they confiscated my phone, and told me I’m not allowed to talk to anyone,” she told the Bengali news channel ABP Ananda from Toronto.
She said when an Indian embassy official called, the immigration officials refused to speak to him, saying they give “any explanation for our decision”.
Sengupta was told to take a return flight in the evening.
“I was told I would have to say that I am leaving voluntarily. They threatened that if I did not do so, they would report against me,” she added.
As hours passed, Sengupta broke into tears.
“Finally, they said since you are already here, and now that you are answering the questions well, we can proceed in a different way.” She was then allowed to leave the airport.