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Why Was Indian-Origin UK Professor Nitasha Kaul Denied Entry Into India?

Nitasha Kaul was given no written documentation and no reason in writing and nor did she receive any prior information from the government regarding the denial of the entry.

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Nitasha Kaul
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Nitasha Kaul, Professor at London’s University of Westminster, who was denied entry into India Sunday after she landed here for the Karnataka government’s conference on the Constitution, says she was given no reason by the immigration for denial to entry into India. She, however, said she is hopeful of returning to India.

“Why would not I be of hopeful of returning to India,” she says.

“All my work is public and has been. I am a fully transparent individual, who takes the public part of public intellectual very seriously.”

She said that the immigration officials initially seemed to be confused and then they said the immigration officer was new and then they said, “they have orders from Delhi and Delhi has instructed us not to allow you to enter into India.”

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She said she was given no written documentation and no reason in writing. “Only informal comments made by the immigration was that I have been critical of the RSS and its leaders,” she said.

She said she didn’t receive any prior information from the government regarding the denial of the entry. “I wouldn’t have taken the travel in the first place had they informed me earlier. I would have challenged it appropriately. This is a very busy time and the only reason I could attend the conference was that it was at the weekend. I was due to arrive on Friday and leave on Monday and be there for the conference on the weekend,” she said.

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After the abrogation of Article 370, in her testimony on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region, Panel II” U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia, she had urged for the end all elements of siege in Kashmir valley and sought full restore mobile telephony and internet. She had also called for the demilitarisation of “Indian administered Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir” and encouraging “credible dialogues amongst Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris and ensure the respect for freedom and the right to self-determination of all people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

She said she has travelled to India numerous times after her testimony at the US Congress in 2019. “I have no idea what seems to have changed now but I would imagine this is the project of stifling public opinion that is accelerating the momentum.”

Professor Kaul said the last time she left India was at the start of February and she had never encountered anything like this. “This was the only time I was invited to India officially by a state government and this has resulted in all this,” she added.

She said she is hopeful of returning to India. “Why would not I be hopeful of returning to India? This is completely unjustified and wrong.”

“All my work is public and has been. I am a fully transparent individual, who takes the public part of public intellectual very seriously.”

“It is highly condemnable that the kind of hate, vitriol and threat leashed against me online which is playing there for all to see, is deeply misogynist, sexualised, slanderous and libellous in terms of all sorts of allegations against me like being pro-Pakistani, working for the ISI and all that. It is all rubbish. It is something that the government should think about, Indians should think about that voices in the public sphere that are independent, that are not pursuing any agendas, how are treated and how they are threatened.” “This kind of thing is not new but it keeps accelerating all the time and the wish of harm and explicit thing like harming with bullets is completely and utterly condemnable. It is something that should worry people of Indian origin and people everywhere.”

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“Re all the lies, I am not married to a Pakistani, not a Muslim convert, not a pawn of China, not a puppet of the West, not a commie, not a jihadi, not Pak sympathiser, not terrorist supporter, not anti-India, not part of a gang. I am what authoritarians fear- a thinking woman,” she wrote today on X (formerly Twitter).

Meanwhile, the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti accused the BJP of “weaponising” passports and imposing “illegal” travel bans to “harass and punish” its critics.

Mufti’s charge came a day after Nitasha Kaul was denied entry when she landed at the Bengaluru airport. “BJP is brazenly weaponising passports, revoking OCI cards & imposing illegal travel bans to harass & punish its critics. Aatish Taseer, Ashok Swain & now Nitasha Kaul. Stand in solidarity with Nitasha for the harrowing experience she was put through only because she doesnt agree with their hateful divisive ideology,” Mufti said on X.

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However, many like former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, presently Chancellor of JNU, wrote, “have seen video of prof Kaul spewing uncontrolled venom on Kashmir & BJP under Yogi Adityanath. Malevolent. For her to play victim card & pretend she doesn’t know reasons for her deportation is being mendacious. She was invited with mischievous intent. Govt rightly denied entry.”

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