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India: Whether Polnet is in operation; if so, whether immigration authorities consult Polnet when processing Indian citizens leaving India and whether a citizen would be refused exit if listed on Polnet; circumstances under which a "no emigration check required" notice would appear on a passport (2003-2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 23 December 2005
Citation / Document Symbol IND100885.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, India: Whether Polnet is in operation; if so, whether immigration authorities consult Polnet when processing Indian citizens leaving India and whether a citizen would be refused exit if listed on Polnet; circumstances under which a "no emigration check required" notice would appear on a passport (2003-2005), 23 December 2005, IND100885.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f147f416.html [accessed 1 October 2014]
Comments Corrected version March 2007
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

A satellite-based police communication network known as Polnet (Hindustan Times 10 May 2005; The Statesman 19 Dec. 2004) that enables data, voice and fax exchanges between police and other law enforcement agencies across the country (Hindustan Times 10 May 2005; Times of India 23 Nov. 2003) was to be implemented in two phases (The Statesman 19 Dec. 2004). The first phase would involve linking district police headquarters with their respective state police headquarters via Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) (Hindustan Times 10 May 2005; The Statesman 19 Dec. 2004) while during the second phase, police stations countrywide would be linked by Multi Access Radio Telephone (MART), a "wireless telephone system" (ibid.) that Bhatal Electronics, the organization responsible for establishing Polnet throughout India (Times of India 23 Apr. 2003; BEL n.d.), calls Multi Access Radio Terminal (ibid.). Polnet was designed to give law enforcement personnel throughout India access to the same data on wanted persons and criminals (Direcway Mar. 2003), including photographs and fingerprints (ibid.; see also Hindustan Times 7 July 2004; The Tribune 19 Nov. 2005), on a highly secure network (The Statesman 19 Dec. 2004; The Tribune 18 Nov. 2005). The Statesman reported on 19 December 2004 that the first phase of implementing Polnet was to be completed by the end of 2004 and the second phase by the end of February 2005.

However, in November 2005, The Tribune reported that Polnet was in the process of being set up in Himachal Pradesh, while a superintendent of police there stated that the system would not be operational until early 2006 (The Tribune 19 Nov. 2005). Meanwhile, the police of the province of Assam announced in July 2005 that it had completed installation of VSATs in the first phase, and that the MART system would subsequently be implemented to connect police stations (Hindustan Times 19 July 2005). In May 2005, police in Haryana were "tak[ing] a lead" in implementing the first phase of Polnet (Hindustan Times 10 May 2005). According to The Statesman, in December 2004 West Bengal was the first province to receive the go-ahead to implement Polnet (19 Dec. 2004). However, Hindustan Times reported that the provinces of Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh would take part in the first phase of implementing Polnet beginning in July 2004, though it did not indicate when the first phase would be completed or when the remaining provinces would be included in the implementation of the network (7 July 2004). Further information on the status of the implementation of Polnet could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Besides state and district police headquarters and police stations, other organizations that would be connected through Polnet are the Central Paramilitary Forces (Direcway Mar. 2003, Hindustan Times 10 May 2005, Times of India 23 Nov. 2003), which include the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Assam Rifles (AR) (Direcway Mar. 2003; see also The Statesman 19 Dec. 2004); the National Crime Records Bureau (Hindustan Times 10 May 2005; Times of India 23 Nov. 2003); and the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi (Direcway Mar. 2003; Hindustan Times 10 May 2005). A newsletter put out by Direcway Entreprise Services, which produces VSATs, reported that 1,100 prisons throughout India would also have access to Polnet (Direcway Mar. 2003) while The Times of India listed Interpol among organizations that would be linked via Polnet (23 Nov. 2003). Information on whether immigration officials would be able to access Polnet could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Regarding the notice "No emigration check required" that appears on a passport, an official with the High Commission of India in Ottawa indicated, without elaborating, that Indian immigration authorities would place that line in a passport if they deemed that no internal check on the passport holder (such as to verify that the person going abroad to work had sufficient funds) was necessary (21 Dec. 2005). Further information on the notice could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). N.d. "Police Communications Network." [Accessed 15 Dec. 2005]

Direcway. March 2003. Direcway Entreprise Services, Hughes Escorts Communications. Volume 4. "Policing the Nation: Hughes Satellite Services to Help in Connecting Police Stations All Across India to Provide Data and Voice Facility." [Accessed 1 Dec. 2005]

Hindustan Times. 19 July 2005. "CM Inaugurates Assam Police Telecom Network." (Factiva)
_____. 10 May 2005. "Haryana Implements Phase-1 of Polnet Scheme; 18 District Headquarters Linked via VSAT." (Factiva)
_____. 7 July 2004. "UT Police Included in First Phase of Polnet." (Factiva)

India. 21 December 2005. High Commission of India, Ottawa. Telephone interview with an official.

The Statesman. 19 December 2004. "Polnet Comes to Bengal First." (Factiva)

The Times of India. 23 November 2003. Pratul Sharma. "Chandigarh Police Can Now Net a Criminal in Tinsukhia." (Factiva)

Tribune. 19 November 2005. Vibhor Mohan. "Polnet to Make Crime Probe Easy." [Accessed 1 Dec. 2005]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International, European Country of Origin Information Network, Federation of American Scientists, Frontline, Indian Space Research Organisation, Intel, Interpol, National Crime Records Bureau (India), United Kingdom Immigration and Nationality Directorate (Home Office), United States Department of State.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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