The UK opposition member of the British Parliament Debbie Abrahams who has alleged that she was “unjustifiably denied entry to India”, did not carry a valid visa, the government sources said.
Government sources said Abrahams was not in the possession of a valid visa at the time of her travel to India and she was accordingly requested to return.
She was issued an e-business visa on October 7, 2019 which was valid till October 5, 2020 to attend business meetings, sources said.
Her e-business visa was revoked on February 14 on account of her indulging in activities which went against India’s national interest, a source said.
“The rejection of the e-business visa, sources said, was intimated to her on February 14, way before she boarded a plane to India.
“The grant, rejection, revocation of visa/electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is the sovereign right of any country,” officials in New Delhi said.
“The previously issued e-business visa was meant for business meetings and not for tourism or visiting family and friends as claimed by her. This is not permitted as per the rules and a separate visa request has to be made,” a visa official said adding that there is no provision of ‘visa on arrival’ for UK nationals at the airport.
Interestingly, the opposition leader and Congress parliamentarian Abhishek Singhvi justified Abrahams deportation. Terming it “necessary”, Singhvi who is also a noted lawyer, tweeted: “She is not just an MP but a Pak proxy known for her clasp with Pak govt and ISI. Every attempt that tries to attack India’s sovereignty must be thwarted.”
“The deportation of Debbie Abrahams by India was indeed necessary, as she is not just an MP, but a Pak proxy known for her clasp with Pak govt and ISI. Every attempt that tries to attack India’s sovereignty must be thwarted,” Singhvi said on Twitter.
Singhvi insisted that the deportation was the right step. “She had plans to visit to Pakistan after coming to India,” said Singhvi citing that she was also informed about this before she undertook the visit to India.
This has come a day after a tweet from senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who had opposed Centre’s move to stop Abraham at the airport.
A UK opposition member of the British Parliament Debbie Abrahams, who is critical of New Delhi’s Kashmir policy, has alleged that she was “unjustifiably denied entry to India” on Monday.
In a statement that was released on Twitter, Abrahams, who chairs a UK parliamentary group on Kashmir, said when she arrived at the Delhi airport at around 8.50 a.m. on Monday, she was told that her e-visa issued in last October has been rejected.
She claimed that her visa was valid till October 2020 and she was visiting her Indian relatives. She was accompanied by her Indian members of staff.
The Indian government on Tuesday confirmed that Abrahams’ visa was “invalid”.
Narrating her side of the story, she said the immigration official in New Delhi “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 as he shouted — ‘come with me. I told him not to speak to me like that…; was then taken to a cordoned off area marked as a Deportee Cell. He then ordered me to sit down…; I refused. I didn”t know what they might do or where else they may take me, so I wanted people to see me. He disappeared again when I rang my sister-in-law’s cousin, Kai, who I was meant to be staying with. Kai got in touch with the British High Commission…; he tried to find out what was going on (sic),” the British MP said in her statement.
“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 the in-charge said he didn’t know…; was really sorry about what had happened,” Abrahams said.
The parliamentarian said she was now “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; I hope they will let me visit my family; friends.”
Abrahams has been critical of the Indian government over its revocation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir on August 5, last year.
“The reason I got into politics is advance social justice and human rights for all. I will continue to challenge my own government and others on these issues,” she tweeted.
The government officials were not available for comment.