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Twitter erupts over India’s deportation of Debbie Abrahams


British MP Debbie Abrahams (Photo: Getty Images)
British MP Debbie Abrahams (Photo: Getty Images)

THE Indian High Commission in London has clarified that immigration officials in Delhi had deported British MP Debbie Abrahams because she “did not hold a valid visa”, and that there was “no provision for visa on arrival for UK nationals”.

The clarification came amid a controversy over India’s denial of entry on Sunday (16) to the Labour lawmaker, who had been critical of the Modi government scrapping special status to the Jammu and Kashmir region.

Abrahams, chair of Britain’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, was travelling with an e-visa, which that had reportedly been revoked on Friday (14) for “activities which went against India’s national interests”.

In an earlier tweet, she had wondered “why was it [visa] revoked & when?”, and called the developments “very disappointing”.

Meanwhile, what caught the attention of many observers in India was one of her tweets on the issue, in which she asked: “Why didn’t they let me get a ‘visa on arrival’?”

Soon, social media hawks started accusing Abrahams of behaving under “colonial hangover”.

“After 14th August 1947, entering into India ceased being a ‘right’ for the Brits,” wrote Indian Defence Forum editor Yusuf Unjhawala.

Indian MP Rajeev Chandrasekar, too, commented on the denial of entry episode, and offered a word of advice for Abrahams and travellers in general.

Senior Congress leader and Supreme Court lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi backed the Indian government’s decision to deport Abrahams. He went on to accuse her of being a “Pak proxy”.

Pakistani President also took to Twitter for a potshot at India. In an apparent reference to Kashmir, he said, “The world will find out despite India’s attempt to hide its atrocities.”

The UK Foreign Office, meanwhile, said she had been offered consular assistance and were in contact with Indian authorities to evaluate the incident.

Abrahams had issued a letter raising concerns over the Indian government’s decision to scrap special status conferred upon J&K region 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,” said the letter to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.