British MP Who Criticised India's Kashmir Policy Denied Entry To India

In a statement, Debbie Abrahams said that she was denied entry despite a valid visa and was deported to Dubai from where she had flown into Delhi.

18 Feb 2020 5:08 AM GMT
British MP Debbie Abrahams Denied Entry

Image Credits: The Times Of India

Indian officials on Monday, February 17, denied entry to British MP Debbie Abrahams who has been critical of India's policies on Jammu and Kashmir. She was unable to clear customs at Delhi airport after her visa was rejected.

A Labour Party MP, Abrahams chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir in Britain. In a statement, she said that she was denied entry despite a valid visa and was deported to Dubai from where she had flown into Delhi. She alleged that the immigration officials did not cite any reason for denying her entry and that her visa was valid till October 2020.

However, the Indian government refuted her claims and said that she did not have a valid visa and that she was informed about her e-visa being cancelled.

In a statement, Abrahams said that upon her arrival at the Delhi airport around 8:50 in the morning, she was told by airport officials that her e-visa issued last October has been rejected.

"Along with everyone else, I presented myself at the immigration desk with my documents including my e-visa, had my photograph taken and then the official 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, shouting at me to 'come with me'," she said in a statement.

She added that she was taken to a 'cordoned off area marked as Deportee Cell.' "He then ordered me to sit down and I refused. I didn't know what they might do or where else they may take me, so I wanted people to see me," she said.

The British MP, who had come to India to visit her relatives, called her relative, who then called the British High Commission. She added that while she asked about a visa on arrival, she was not given any answers.

"I'm prepared to let the fact that I've been treated like a criminal go, and I hope they will let me visit my family and friends," Abrahams added.

Taking to Twitter, the British MP asked whether she was denied a visa as she has been "critical of the Indian government on Kashmir human rights issues."

"Why did the Indian Government revoke my visa AFTER it was granted? Why didn't they let me get a 'visa on arrival'? Is it because I have been critical of the Indian Government on #Kashmir human rights issues?" Abrahams said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Congress MP reacted to the incident and said in a tweet, "If things are fine in #Kashmir, shouldn't the Govt encourage critics to witness the situation themselves to put their fears to rest? Instead of conducting tours for pliant MEPs &polite Ambassadors alone, surely the head of a ParliamentaryGroup on the subject is worth cultivating?"

After India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year, Abrahams had severely criticised the move. Expressing deep concerns over the matter, she had also written to the Indian envoy in the UK.

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Reethu Ravi

Reethu Ravi

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