Indian officials refused entry to British lawmaker Debbie Abrahams after she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Abrahams is known to be a firm critic of Indian policies in Jammu and Kashmir.
Debbie Abrahams, a Labour Party Member of Parliament who chairs a parliamentary group centred on Kashmir, was unable to clear customs after her valid Indian visa was rejected, her aide, Harpreet Upal, told The Associated Press.
Abrahams and Upal arrived at the IGI airport on an Emirates flight from Dubai at 9 am. Upal said the immigration officials did not mention any reason for refusing Abrahams entry and revoking her visa, a copy of which, valid until October 2020.
Abrahams has been a member of Parliament since 2011 and was on a two-day personal trip to India, she said in a statement. “I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no one seemed to know,” she said in the statement.
Why did the Indian Government revoke my visa AFTER it was granted? Why didn't they let me get a 'visa on arrival'? Is it because I have been critical of the Indian Government on #Kashmir human rights issues? https://t.co/aNhvFpc10D
— Debbie Abrahams MP (@Debbie_abrahams) February 17, 2020
“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.”
Abrahams has been an MP since 2011 and is a blunt critic of the Indian government’s move last August, stripping Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and demoting it from a state to a federal territory.
Shortly after the changes to Kashmir’s status were passed by India’s Parliament, Abrahams wrote a letter to India’s High Commissioner to the UK, saying the action “betrays the trust of the people” of Kashmir.
Kashmir is announcing the restoration of limited, slow-speed internet as a step towards normalcy, but for the region’s 7 million people, the truth is far different. They are only allowed to access government-approved websites.
More than two dozen diplomats visited Jammu and Kashmir earlier as New Delhi works to convince foreign allies that all is well in the region. The group included European diplomats, some of whom declined a previous invitation from New Delhi to visit the region.
Meanwhile, internet in Jammu and Kashmir will be eased further in the coming months, Kewal Kumar Sharma, advisor to the Lt Governor of J&K said on Monday. “The restrictions remain to make sure that these facilities are not misused for promoting disorder. In some months from now it should be possible to ease various restrictions related to the connectivity,” he said during an interaction with investors.