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A special initiative by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj led to prompt release of 20-year-old Guwahati girl Aradhana Barooah who is studying medical science in Ukraine. She was detained by authorities in Istanbul airport.

When Aradhana checked in at the Kiev airport on July 4 to board her British Airlines flight to Guwahati, officials told her that her ticket – with a stopover in London – would require her a transit visa. After discussions with her travel agent and family, she booked a ticket via Istanbul – the route she travelled earlier, without a transit visa.

When she went to board the flight – with transit via Istanbul – on July 5, she didn’t face any problem at Kiev airport. After landing at Istanbul, she was supposed to travel to another airport, 65 kms away, for her onward journey when she was stopped by immigration authorities for not having a valid transit visa.

She was told that she will not be able to travel further without a transit visa and will be flown back to Kiev.


Media reports suggested that normally a transit visa is waived at Istanbul but enhanced security because of the recent terror attack came in the way and the panic-stricken girl was detained within the airport on the grounds that she did not have a valid transit visa.

Aradhana’s father works with the education department in Hailakandi district and he approached the deputy commissioner of the district Moloy Bora for help. Bora, meanwhile, tweeted to Sushma Swaraj for help which led to the minister directing the embassy officials for swift action.

“I’m happy all of this is over,” Aradhana said after landing in Guwahati.

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