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Tue, 31 March 2020

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Labour MP who leads Kashmir group denied entry to India on family visit

Labour MP who leads Kashmir group denied entry to India on family visit
3 min read

British Labour MP Debbie Abrahams has been denied entrance to India and is being deported despite having a valid visa, it has been reported.

The chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group of the contentious region of Kashmir said she had been treated “like a criminal” as she arrived in Delhi airport on a trip to visit family, accompanied by her Indian aide. 

In a statement from the British MP she said even the official in charge didn’t know why her visa - valid from October 2019 until October 2020 -  had been revoked, and was on a plane waiting to be deported to Dubai unless the Indian Government “has a change of heart”.

The flight was due to depart at 10.30am. 

She also tweeted: “I was planning to visit Indian family in Delhli accompanied by my Indian aide. I became a politician to promote social justice & human rights FOR ALL. 

“I will continue to challenge my own Government & others while injustice & abuse is unchecked.”

Ms Abrahams leads the cross-party group which aims to highlight abuses of human rights in Kashmir and support the regional population's right ot self-determination. She has been critical of the Indian Government’s decision to revoke Article 370 which gives autonomous status to the state of Kashmir last year. 

Following the changes being passed by Parliament, the Oldham MP wrote to India’s High Commissioner to the UK saying the move “betrays the trust” of the people of Kashmir.

Speaking of her treatment on arrival to Delhi Airport at around 8.50am on Monday, she said: “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'. I told him not to speak to me like that and was then taken to a cordoned off area marked as a Deportee Cell... 
“After lots of different immigration officials came to me, I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no-one seemed to know. 
“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. 
She added: “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.”

India's Ministry of External Affairs has been contacted for comment.

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