UK writer Nitasha Kaul denied entry into India, sparks political spat

UK writer Nitasha Kaul denied entry into India, sparks political spat

British academic Nitasha Kaul was denied entry into India and deported from Bengaluru airport, sparking a political spat between Congress and BJP. The incident has raised questions about freedom of speech and suppression of voices supporting the Constitution.

British Academic Nitasha Kaul Denied Entry into India, Sparks Political Spat British Academic Nitasha Kaul Denied Entry into India, Sparks Political Spat

Following the British scholar and writer Nitasha Kaul's allegation that the Karnataka government had invited her to speak at a conference but that she was refused admission into India and deported from the Bengaluru airport, a verbal spat broke out between the Congress and the BJP.

The BJP-led Centre came under fire from Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad, who called Kaul's deportation "unfortunate" and an "insult" to the state of Karnataka. The Karnataka BJP, however, called Nitasha Kaul a "Pakistani sympathizer" and thanked security personnel at the immigration for apprehending an "anti-India element" on X.

"She (Nitasha Kaul) came here (Bengaluru) and landed at the airport, but she was denied entry without any valid reason. A state government in a federal system invites an academic who is of Indian origin but she was told by the central government that she cannot enter the country. Is it just because she doesn’t subscribe to your ideology? Is this dictatorship in the country today? Is there no freedom of expression or no freedom to participate in a debate on the Constitution?," Congress's Rizwan Arshad asked, while speaking to reporters.

He further said that time and again, the BJP attempts to drown voices that are trying to strengthen the Constitution and its features such as brotherhood, fraternity, inclusivity and equality. "That is what (the) BJP is against. That is what Sangh Parivar is against," Rizwan Arshad said.

The BJP, on the other hand, took a swipe at the ruling Congress in Karnataka and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, asking if, by inviting the author, he is "trying to challenge the Constitution and threaten the unity and integrity of India".

"No money to spend on drought relief or developmental needs of Karnataka, but Siddaramaiah is happy to finance the Break India Brigade in an effort to appease Rahul Gandhi and save his CM Chair, all in the name of Dr. Ambedkar's constitution. What a disgrace," Karnataka BJP tweeted.

The incident came to light after 48-year-old Nitasha Kaul claimed that she was denied entry into India after she landed at the Bengaluru airport and then deported from the country hours later. In a series of tweets, she alleged that the immigration officials "informally" referenced her criticism of the RSS in the past and cited "orders from Delhi" as the reason.

"This has been a harrowing ordeal, and the harassment, indignities, attempted intimidation that I have faced make me determined to continue doing the right thing w empathy for those who are enrolled into this pernicious antidemocratic common sense anywhere due to ignorance, and pity for those who do it out of malice," Kashmiri-Pandit Nitasha Kaul tweeted.

She claimed in her tweets that she was kept inside a room under 24/7 surveillance, and was denied "easy access" to basic facilities such as food, water, a pillow and a blanket despite "dozens of calls" to the airport.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: Feb 26, 2024