German student who took part in anti-CAA protests told to leave India

Sources close to the student confirmed that no written communication was given to him by the BoI officials

December 24, 2019 05:38 am | Updated 07:39 am IST - CHENNAI

Jakob Lindenthal at a protest rally in Chennai.

Jakob Lindenthal at a protest rally in Chennai.

Jakob Lindenthal, a German student on an exchange programme at IIT-Madras who took part in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act here, was asked to leave India on Monday by Bureau of Immigration officials.

Sources in IIT confirmed that no written communication was given by BoI officials. He was orally informed that he had violated his visa regulations.

Though he was scheduled to board a flight in the early hours of Tuesday, he couldn't board as his Air India flight from Chennai to Delhi got delayed by nearly four hours. The Hindu confirmed that the student is waiting at Delhi airport for an alternate flight.

He was summoned to the BoI office here on Monday morning through the office of the Dean of International and Alumni Relations (IAR) in the IIT. He was questioned till afternoon on a range of topics, including his views on Indian politics and what he thought of the anti-CAA protests, the sources confirmed.

After the enquiry, he was informed that he had to leave the country immediately, and he would have to reapply if he wanted to visit again.

Though the German Consulate offered him contacts of lawyers whom he could reach out for help, he felt unsafe and decided to leave, sources in the IIT said.

Mr. Lindenthal, a student of the Technical University of Dresden, was in India since July and was part of the Department of Physics in the IIT. His exchange programme was to end by May 2020.

Students from the IIT said he took part in the anti-CAA protest on the campus and at Valluvar Kottam, during which he spoke to The Hindu.

Carrying a placard that said “1933-1945. We have been there,” denoting the beginning and end of Hitler’s regime in Germany, he said that though there was discrimination against Jews in 1933, it was not clearly visible then that it would eventually lead to mass deportations and genocide. “In the beginning, we never know where it will all end,” he had said.

Chinta Bar, a student collective in the IIT, expressed solidarity with Mr. Lindenthal. In a statement, it extended gratitude to him for being part of the struggle to protect the rights of Indians and for his concerns towards humanity.

Meanwhile, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT - Madras, who was out of station, and Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean - IAR, said that they were unaware of this development.

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