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Were her views on Kashmir behind denial of visa, asks deported British MP Debbie Abrahams

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 18, 2020 Published on February 18, 2020

Debbie Abrahams, a British MP, has questioned the Government of India for revoking her visa and deporting her from Delhi airport to Dubai on Monday (February 18).

Abrahams believes that her visa was revoked by the Home Ministry because she has spoken out against the government on human rights issues in Kashmir.

Abrahams tweeted: "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?"

According to an official cited in the India Today report, the Home Ministry informed Abrahams about the revocation of her passport beforehand. The status of her e-visa communicated to her last Friday, clearly said 'rejected'.

Abrahams, 59, is a Labour Party worker -- a party that mentioned India’s occupation in Kashmir as illegal in its first draft of the manifesto, ‘It’s Time For Real Change’.

Abrahams is a chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir -- a party that supports the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

What happened at Delhi Airport?

Abrahams shared a post narrating her ordeal on Twitter. According to the post, Abrahams’ passport that was issued last October and was valid up to October 2020, was rejected by the Indian authorities. After landing at Delhi Airport, she presented herself at the immigration desk with all her documents intact. Her documents were rejected by the official and she was taken to a Deportee cell. Abrahams contacted her lawyer and the British Commission to know why she was denied entry into India and could not secure a visa on arrival.

Debbie Abrahams’ view on Kashmir

Abrahams was among a group of MPs who issued formal letters following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 in August last year.

"We are gravely concerned at the announcement by Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed by Presidential Order," the Opposition MP had noted in her letter to the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the time.

Twitter storm

Hours after Abrahams shared the incident on the microblogging site, #visa started trending on Twitter. Prominent journalist Nidhi Razdan tweeted: “British MP @Debbie_abrahams says she has been denied entry into India this morning despite having a valid #visa. Ms. Abrahams chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir and has been critical of the GOI’s move to revoke Article 370.”

While journalist Gaurav Sawant backed the move tweeting, “did British MP @Debbie_abrahams have a valid #visa to enter India? Sources tell me her e-visa was not valid. Her application was processed and ‘rejected' and in writing, she was advised to apply for a regular visa by the authorities.”

Published on February 18, 2020
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