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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

British MP critical of Modi's Kashmir policy denied entry

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A UK opposition member of the British Parliament Debbie Abrahams who is critical of New Delhi’s Kashmir policy, has alleged that she was unjustifiably denied entry to India on Monday.

However, government sources told media that Abrahams “was not in possession of a valid visa to visit India. Entry into the country was therefore denied”.

In a statement that was released on Twitter, Abrahams, who chairs a UK parliamentary group on Kashmir, said when she arrived at Delhi airport on about 8.50 a.m. on Monday where she was told that her e-visa issued in last October had been rejected.

She claimed that her visa was valid till October 2020 and she was visiting her Indian relatives. She was accompanied by her Indian members of staff.

Narrating her side of the story, she said the immigration official in New Delhi “looked at his screen and started shaking his head. Then he told me my visa was rejected took my passport and disappeared for about 10 minutes. When he came back he was very rude and aggressive as he shouted ‘come with me’.”

“I told him not to speak to me like that & was then taken to a cordoned off area marked as a Deportee Cell. He then ordered me to sit down & I refused. I didn’t know what they might do or where else they may take me, so I wanted people to see me. He disappeared again when I rang my sister in law’s cousin, Kai, who I was meant to be staying with. Kai got in touch with the British High Commission & he tried to find out what was going on (sic),” the British MP said in her statement.

“After lots of different immigration officials came to me, I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no-one seemed to know. Even the person who seemed to be the in-charge said he didn’t know & was really sorry about what had happened,” Abrahams said.

The parliamentarian said she was now “just waiting to be deported… unless the Indian Government has a change of heart. I’m prepared to let the fact that I’ve been treated like a criminal go & I hope they will let me visit my family & friends.”

Abrahams has been critical of the Indian government over its revocation of special status of Jammu & Kashmir on August 5, last year.

“The reason I got into politics is advance social justice and human rights for all. I will continue to challenge my own government and others on these issues,” she tweeted.


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