news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | January 6, 2014 | 08:58 am IST  When Vidya Rao, a Bengaluru based professional, planned a solo trip to Malaysia and approached a city travel agency for travel and visa assistance, she was reportedly asked to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from her husband. Her husband had also gone to the same travel agency as he was planning a trip to Bangladesh later this month.  According to a Bangalore Mirror report, after the woman's husband submitted all the required document, she was asked to get a NOC from her husband because she was travelling alone, leaving the couple shocked.  "They (the travel agents) ask for this NOC from single women travellers because they feel secure about it, the agency explained to us. "It's absurd to ask for husband's NOC from a working woman in this century. It takes us back many centuries. I have been asked for it before and I've never given it", Rao told Bangalore Mirror.  In a Facebook post, Mahesh Shantaram, Vidya Rao's husband, explained the course of events in the agency. Describing what happened when they were asked for a NOC by a staff at the agency, he wrote, 'I asked her twice to make sure I heard it correctly. I almost gagged on my mental puke. She was asking my wife quite matter-of-factly for a certificate from the husband stating that he does not object to her going alone on a holiday abroad. (An NOC is generally what one needs to produce for transfer of ownership and cross-border movement of goods, animals, and vehicles.) He continued his post saying, 'I had to enquire more about this safety measure, no doubt instituted to protect our sisters/daughters/mothers. “What if she has no husband?" “NOC from father." “What if the father is dead?" “Death certificate." The senior staffer pitched in. I was so hoping he’d say a chit from mommy would do. His responses were calm, quick, and obviously well-practised. He tried to pass it off as mandatory in “muslim countries" I wonder how many customers before us have meekly acceded to this regressive and concocted rule'.  According to the Bangalore Mirror report, Rao later called the Consulate of Malaysia in Chennai which told her that no such document was required even for single women travellers. Rao later submit her application without the NOC. 
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