British Labour MP Debbie Abrahams was unable to clear customs after her "valid Indian visa" was rejected at New Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday, 17 February. According to government sources quoted by ANI, it was on account of her indulging in activities which “went against India’s national interest.”
Abrahams was travelling to India for two days to visit an Indian family in New Delhi and was unable to clear immigration at New Delhi IGI Airport. According to her, she was travelling on a valid visa.
According to government sources quoted by ANI, Abrahams' visa was “revoked on 14 February on account of her view on Kashmir”. She was informed about it on the same day, they said.
WHAT WE KNOW
Abrahams has been an outspoken critic of the Indian government's move last August stripping Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and demoting it from a state to a union territory.
She was issued an e-Business Visa on 7 October 2019, valid till 5 October 2020 to attend business meetings.
According to government sources quoted by ANI, Abrahams' e-Business Visa was revoked on 14 February 2020 on account of her indulging in activities which went against India's national interest. The rejection of the e-Business Visa was allegedly intimated to her on the same day.
According to the Indian High Commission in UK, Abrahams was not in the possession of a valid visa at the time of her travel to India and she was accordingly requested to return.
There is no provision of 'visa on arrival' for UK nationals at the airport.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
It is not yet known how the MP travelled to India if she did not possess a valid visa.
According to her, she travelled on a valid visa. However, the Indian High Commission in the UK claims the opposite.
In her statement, Abrahams said she had presented herself at the immigration desk along with her documents and e-visa. When her visa was rejected, several immigration officials came to her but none of them knew why her e-visa was cancelled.
“Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn't know and was really sorry about what had happened,” Abrahams added.
According to MHA sources, Abrahams was informed about her visa “in due process.”
The Indian High Commission in UK on Tuesday posted on Twitter that Abrahams travelled on an invalid visa.
Government sources, quoted by ANI, on Tuesday issued a statement that the “grant, rejection, revocation of visa / electronic travel authorisation is the sovereign right of any country."
“The MP was issued an e-Business Visa on 7 October 2019, valid till 5 Oct 2020 to attend business meetings,” the statement said.
Reactions to the deportation
- Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asked why the government was scared of critics if it claimed the situation in Kashmir was normal.
- Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the deportation was necessary as she is a “Pakistan proxy.”