UK MP Critical of Centre's Article 370 Move in Kashmir Denied Entry into India

Although immigration officials said her visa was not valid, Abrahams says it was valid till October 2020.

New Delhi: British lawmaker Debbie Abrahams, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir, was on Monday reportedly denied entry to India in spite of having a valid visa.

Abrahams’ statement, while awaiting deportation, was tweeted by journalist Nidhi Razdan.

Arriving at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport with her aide Harpreet Upal, early on February 17, Abrahams was allegedly told that the e-visa, issued on October 2019 and valid till October 2020, has expired.

“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,” Abrahams said. The official then reportedly said Abrahams’ visa was rejected and disappeared with her passports for a duration of around 10 minutes.

Also read: ‘We’re Here as Tourists’: Fresh Batch of Foreign Envoys Visit Kashmir

The official was reportedly rude to Abrahams and asked her to accompany him to a ‘Deportee Cell’. Refusing to sit down or be taken away, Abrahams then called up her sister-in-law’s cousin, one Kai, whom she had meant to be staying with. Kai reportedly got in touch with the British High Commission.

Various immigration officials allegedly came to see Abrahams, even though none of them could give her an idea as to why she would not be let into the country.

Government sources have told The Wire that Abraham was not in possession of a valid visa to visit India. “Entry into the country was therefore denied,” they said.

Abrahams has disagreed with the account.

Retweeting Razdan, Abrahams wrote that the nature of her visit was largely personal.

A British High Commission spokesperson said, “We are in contact with the Indian authorities to understand why Deborah Abrahams, MP, was denied entry to India. We provided consular assistance to her whilst she was in New Delhi Airport.”

Abrahams is a Labour party MP and has been critical of the Centre’s move on Kashmir and the human rights violations there. The Washington Post has reported that Abrahams was supposed to visit Pakistan administered Kashmir after her two-day trip to India.

On Sunday, at Varanasi, prime minister Narendra Modi had said that his government would stick to the decision to read down Article 370, that gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status, ‘despite pressure’.

Although Abrahams was not supposed to visit Indian-administered Kashmir, envoys of several countries, along with European MPs (most of them rightwing) have been invited to visit the new Union Territory since the move.