Debbie Abrahams, British MP denied entry to India over Kashmir criticism

A British member of parliament critical of India’s handling of the disputed Kashmir region; she has been denied entry to the country. Debbie Abraham is an MP of main opposition Labour Party as well as the chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Kashmir. On Monday, Debbie Abrahams flew from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Delhi for a personal two-day visit. Despite being in possession of a valid visa until October 2020, she was denied entry and flown back to the UAE. Indian immigration officials refused to give a reason for their decision.

MP presented at the immigration desk with valid documents including e-visa, photograph taken on the counter and then official looked at his screen and started shaking his head. Then he told MP that visa was rejected, took her passport and disappeared for about 10 minutes, said in her statement. When he came back, he was very rude and aggressive, shouting at MP to come with me. She told him not to speak to like that and was then taken to a cordoned-off area marked as a deportee cell. He then ordered me to sit down and I refused. I didn’t know what they might do or where else they may take, so I wanted people to see me.

After lots of different immigration officials came to Debbie Abrahams, tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if could get a ‘visa on arrival,’ but no-one seemed to know. She prepared to let the fact that has been treated like a criminal go, and hope they will let me visit my family and friends. Access is strictly limited to Kashmir, where foreign journalists are not allowed to enter.

Last August, she wrote to the British foreign secretary that her parliamentary group was concerns about India’s decision to downgrade Kashmir’s status from state to federal territory, thus stripping the region of its semi-autonomy. She said the move betrayed the trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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