British MP who leads parliamentary group on Kashmir denied entry to India

Labour MP says she was ‘treated like criminal’

February 17, 2020 02:13 pm | Updated 11:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

This photograph provided by Harpreet Upal, an accompanying aide of British Member of Parliament Debbie Abrahams, shows Ms. Abrahams at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on February 17, 2020.

This photograph provided by Harpreet Upal, an accompanying aide of British Member of Parliament Debbie Abrahams, shows Ms. Abrahams at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on February 17, 2020.

A Labour MP from the United Kingdom was deported to Dubai as she was found not in possession of a valid Indian visa, sources said on Monday.

Debbie Abrahams, leader of the U.K. Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir, said she was “treated like a criminal” at the airport here before being placed on a flight out of India.

Explanation sought

“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. Then he told me my visa was rejected,” said Ms. Abrahams, who sought an explanation from the Indian immigration authorities for revocation of her Indian visa that was issued in October 2019 and was valid for one year. “Why did the Indian government revoke my visa after it was granted?” asked Ms. Abrahams.

Commenting on social media, the British MP wanted to know why Indian officials did not issue a “visa on arrival” if the immigration authorities found the issued visa was invalid. “Is it because I have been critical of the Indian government on Kashmir human rights issues?” she asked.

An official source, however, maintained that Ms. Abrahams was “not in possession of a valid visa to visit India” and therefore was denied entry.

It is understood that the U.K. High Commission here reached out to the MP during her few hours stay at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and has taken up the matter at the bilateral level.

Reason not clear

“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 while she was in New Delhi airport,” said a British High Commission spokesperson. It is still not clear why the Labour MP’s visa was revoked.

As the chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir, Ms. Abraham convened meetings on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir as well as on the India-Pakistan conflict.

She has been consistent in demanding direct access to the ground realities in Jammu and Kashmir and in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. She has been a critic of the Narendra Modi government’s decision to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

( With inputs from Vijaita Singh )

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