A Labour MP sparked a diplomatic incident after being denied admission to India.
Debbie Abrahams said she felt like a criminal after she was put in a deportee cell and bodily marched onto a return flight when officials said she didn’t have a legitimate visa.
The Labour MP who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir and has been critical of the Indian government said she was being deported and she said it was shocking.
A Foreign Office minister raised the matter formally with India’s High Commissioner and a Foreign Office spokesperson said that they were in touch with the Indian officials and that Lord Ahmad has spoken with the Indian High Commissioner to understand why Deborah Abrahams MP was refused admission to India.
Kashmir is disputed by India and Pakistan and last year Debbie Abrahams said a legal change by the Indian government betrayed the trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
And speaking from her seat on the plane, the MP stated that she wouldn’t be surprised if the decision was to do with her association with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
India’s High Commission in London kicked back, insisting that Deborah Abrahams did not have a visa to visit India and her denial was nothing to do with her work on the APPG.
The Labour MP stated that she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi international airport with her Parliamentary aide Harpreet Uppal.
Debbie Abrahams stated that she wanted to pay a private visit to her sister in law’s cousin and aunt, who recently lost a family member, in Delhi, before then going with Harpreet Uppal to Pakistan for an official appointment with the APPG.
She said she had got her visa to visit India last October and that it was valid for a whole year. But when she gave it to a border officer, she said, he was looking on his screen and began shaking his head and going ‘no, no, no’, and said that her visa had been denied.
She said the gentleman left with her passport for about 10 minutes before returning and stating she wouldn’t be allowed into India.
Debbie Abrahams gave the copy of her visa on her phone but maintained the officer was then rude and aggressive, telling her to follow him.
She said that she was getting a little bit frightened and she didn’t know where he was taking her or what was going to happen. So, she said that she wanted to know what was happening, but then he yelled at her to follow him and she told him not to speak to her like that.
He took her and her aide to what could only be defined as a holding area, a fenced-off cordoned area, with two signs saying deportee cell and he told them to sit down and wait but she refused to sit down because she wanted as many people as possible to see her. After all, she didn’t know what was going to happen to her.
She said she asked to apply for a visa on arrival but was told she wouldn’t be allowed in. By this point, she said there were about five officials, some of which were remorseful and didn’t know what was going on.
She said that she felt like a criminal, being accompanied everywhere with security watchdogs, who made her sit in a transit lounge for an hour being watched and asked all sorts of details which she declined to co-operate on.
The MP spoke out about the revocation of article 370, a law which gave Kashmir a level of autonomy, by the Indian government.
She wrote to India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and stated that the unilateral decision made by the Government of India to withdraw Article 370 betrayed the trust of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, dating back to the accession of 1947.
And she continued in her letter that it was particularly worrying that this would heighten tensions in an area where there are already reported issues of violence, aggression and human rights violations.
Debbie Abrahams was put on a flight to return to Dubai where she would then take her connecting flight to Pakistan. She was physically marched to the plane and still didn’t have her passport until just before take-off.
Vishwesh Negi, Minister in command of Press and Political Affairs at India’s High Commission in London, dismissed the refusal was to do with Deborah Abraham’s work on Kashmir.
He stated that she was insisting she had a visa and they’re saying that she didn’t have a visa and so it was her version against their version and Vishwesh Negi said that the MP could not get a visa on entry because it’s not available to UK passengers.
When asked to verify his position and questioned if her refusal was anything to do with her work on the APPG, Kashmir, or her visit to Pakistan, he stated that it wasn’t and that she had not been banned from India forever and could apply for a visa in the future.
It’s India’s choice who they deport and who they don’t, but it’s quite right to highlight the fact that their country is not open enough to allow the entry of people who are discerning of their government, and that was Debbie Abraham’s rightful voice and it appears that the current Indian government is quite right-wing and a somewhat offensive set of people that are currently in power there.
They said that Debbie Abraham’s had no visa and it is their word against hers and quite honestly it should have been investigated and if it had been established that she didn’t have a valid visa, then they owe her an apology, and if it was discovered that she didn’t have a visa, then certainly she should scolded for not having one.
It appears that India has effective restrictions on keeping out political dissidents who meddle in their sovereign country’s affairs and why was she spending taxpayers money on visiting her family? But then this entire madness is just part of the swamp.
But then, is she right? If India and Pakistan spent the £600,000000 we give each year, on the needy, instead of buying weaponry from the capitalists in this country, they wouldn’t want to migrate to other country’s.
However, when you bad mouth a country, is she not surprised they did not greet her with open arms? And she was somewhat naive if she didn’t realise, when you fight injustice, injustice is likely to fight back but still, the reporting of this story is plausibly worth more than her planned trip.