British MP who criticised India on Article 370 denied entry, 'treated like criminal' at Delhi airport

08:07 PM | 17 Feb, 2020
British MP who criticised India on Article 370 denied entry, 'treated like criminal' at Delhi airport

NEW DELHI - A British MP critical of the government's decisions on Kashmir claimed on Monday that she had been denied entry into India and was "waiting to be deported" after she was told upon her arrival at the Delhi airport that her e-visa had been rejected.

Debbie Abrahams, a Member of the British Parliament and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir has said in a statement that she was "treated like a criminal" and taken to the deportee cell.

Denying her charge, government sources said Ms Abraham was not in possession of a valid visa to visit India.

Ms Abrahams said when she landed around 8.50 this morning, she was told by Delhi airport officials that the e-visa issued last October and valid until October 2020 had 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'," said the British MP in a statement.

"I told him not to speak to me like that and was then taken to a cordoned-off area marked as a 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."

The politician said she rang a relative she was supposed to stay with, and he called the British High Commission to try and find out what was going on. She also said she asked about a visa on arrival, but got no answers.

"Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn't know and was really sorry about what had happened. So now I am just waiting to be deported... unless the Indian Government has a change of heart. 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," Ms Abrahams said.

On her Twitter page, Ms Abrahams has posted a letter she apparently wrote on August 5 last year, the day the government ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and enforced severe restrictions to avoid any violent protests.

The MP said as the chair of a group on Kashmir, she had written to the Indian envoy in the UK expressing grave concerns on the Article 370 move.

Ms Abrahams' timeline has several posts critical of the Kashmir decision.