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India rejects visit to British scholar to speak on democratic values

India rejects visit to British scholar to speak on democratic values


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A British writer and professor of Indian origin says he was refused entry to India and deported to Britain because of his views on democratic and constitutional values.

Nitasha Kaul, a professor at the University of Westminster in London, claimed that Delhi's order prevented her from entering the country at the airport and denied her entry.

Ms Kaul said she arrived at Bengaluru airport in southern India last weekend to attend the two-day Constitution and National Unity Conference as a speaker.

However, after arriving in Bengaluru, she was denied entry permission through immigration despite having a valid visa, she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We have not received any reason from the immigration department other than Delhi's order that we cannot do anything,” Mr Kaul wrote in the thread attaching the document.

I received no prior notice or information from Delhi that I would not be permitted to enter the country.

Mr Kaul claimed he spent several hours at the immigration office without any explanation of his situation and was then locked in a cell under CCTV surveillance for 24 hours.

Her movement was limited in her cell, which had limited space to lie down and no easy access to food and water.

[I] Mr Kaul said X had made dozens of calls to the airport for basic items such as pillows and blankets, but they refused to provide them.

The political science professor claimed that officials had informally referred to my criticism of the RSS, a far-right Hindu nationalist paramilitary group, years ago.

In 2019, Mr. Kaul served as a key witness before the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, testifying about human rights violations that occurred after the repeal of Article 370, which granted special status to the Indian-administered Kashmir region.

Since then I have traveled to India several times. I was invited by the state government but was denied entry by the central government, she wrote.

Ms Kaul said she had received rape and death threats from right-wing Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) trolls for years, but dismissed them as not serious.

On Sunday, she expressed concern for her safety, saying, “If there was an accident, I think we would have to take a closer look.”

After a 24-hour ordeal, Mr Kaul was deported back to London on a British Airways flight.

Mr. Kaul compared himself to Tibetan exiles, Ukrainian exiles, and others throughout history who have faced the arbitrary exercise of cruel and irrational power.

Banning Indian academics, journalists, activists and writers despite all valid documents is pathetic, Mr. Kaul wrote.

Rizwan Arshad, a politician from the opposition Congress Party and a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the state where Ms Kaul was invited to speak, criticized the Narendra Modis government and said Ms Kaul's expulsion was unfortunate and Karnataka He said it was an insult to the state. .

However, the Karnataka wing of the BJP thanked X for immigration security agencies for spotting anti-India elements and fingered Mr. Kaul as a Pakistani sympathizer.

In recent years, India has denied entry to several scholars and journalists who have written or spoken against the Modi government.

In 2022, India expelled a prominent anthropologist from the University of Sussex for conducting research with southern Indian Muslims, without giving an official reason.

French journalist Vanessa Dougnac announced her departure from India earlier this month after working there for 20 years. Despite her status as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), a form of permanent residency, she was banned from working as a journalist in India as a result of what the government characterized as malicious and critical reporting.

So far, four journalists holding OCI cards have been denied permission to work in India, according to a Sans Frontiers reporter. The organization's latest World Press Freedom Index ranks India 161st out of 180 countries.




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