India has barred a UK Labour Party MP to enter its land because of her critique of the Indian government’s controversial decision to end Kashmir’s special status through a Presidential decree last year.
Debbie Abrahams who leads a parliamentary group on Kashmir said she was denied a standard e-visa at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport. Ms. Abrahams had criticized the move to repeal partial autonomy for the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The annulling of special semi-autonomous status maintained by the former princely state since its illegal annexation by India was welcomed by the Hindu extremist elements in the country but at the same time attracted widespread criticism both inside India by liberal lawmakers and from international community.
The MP representing Oldham East and Saddleworth was on a personal visit to India. Upon landing in Delhi on Monday via an Emirates flight, to her surprise, she was informed about the rejection of her visa by the authorities.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“An official took my passport and disappeared for about 10 minutes. When he came back, he was very rude and shouted at me to come with him,” the Brit said.
The MP was reportedly taken to an area marked for deportees.
“After lots of different immigration officials came to me, I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no-one seemed to know,” she added.
“So now I am just waiting to be deported, unless the Indian government has a change of heart.”
Last August, Ms. Abrahams wrote to the UK foreign secretary and recorded the grave concerns of the committee chaired by her as she pointed to the the revoking of special status of a state and its subsequent lockdown. The MP further added that the decision to strip the already disputed region, barracked by over 900,000 Indian soldiers, of its autonomy betrayed the trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir valley.