Anthropologist Filippo Osella was on Thursday deported back to the United Kingdom from Thiruvananthapuram International airport in Kerala without citing any official reason, reported The Indian Express.

Osella, recognised for his work on societies in South Asia, had flown in to attend a research conference in Thiruvanthapuram, according to Asianet News. Osella was to be the keynote speaker at the conference on “emerging themes connected to the livelihood and lifeworld of Kerala’s coastal communities”, scheduled for Friday.

Immigration officers have not cited any reason for the deportation. They told The Indian Express that they were given orders from higher authorities. The organisers of the event have also expressed surprise at the deportation.

Osella said that he was asked to contact flight assistants when he was about to leave Thiruvananthapuram airport after landing early on Thursday morning.

“I was taken to the immigration desk, and processed as it is normally done,” he told The Indian Express. “But after they scanned my passport, took my photo and fingerprints, they told me that I was not allowed to enter India, and that I would be deported immediately.”

The anthropologist suspected that the decision to deport him had been taken before his arrival as an employee of the airline Emirates had already arranged for his flight via Dubai.

He described the behaviour of the immigration supervisor as “extremely unfriendly and impolite”.

“They refused to explain why I was not allowed in, and deported...[They] only said that it was a ‘government of India order’,” Osella said.

Osella has deep-dived since the past 30 years from the 1980’s into the social and cultural transformations in Kerala’s society. His work is not politically controversial, but he rather studies the lives of ordinary people, their relationships to one another and to society, and various trends within the community, noted the newspaper.

Osella is the Professor Of Anthropology And South Asian Studies, International Development and Culture Studies at University of Sussex, UK.

The conference that he was due to attend, is jointly organised by Cochin University of Science and Technology, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Inter-University Center for Alternative Economics, University of Kerala, and the University of Sussex.