India on Thursday said that British MP Debbie Abrahams, who was recently denied entry into India as she did not “hold a valid visa”, was respectfully sent back to the United Kingdom. The British politician alleged that immigration officials at the Delhi airport on Monday did not give her any reason for denying her entry into India and cancelling her visa, which she said was valid till October 2020.
“She [Debbie Abrahams] didn’t have a valid visa, so we sent her back badi izzat se [with due respect] from the Delhi airport,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing. “We believe that her views and statements are anti-India.” Kumar added that Abrahams has been behind a sustained campaign against India.
Abrahams has been openly critical of the Indian administration’s amendments to Article 370 of its Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. She is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir. Abrahams was also among a group of British parliamentarians who had sent out a formal letter after India’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir, raising concerns about the move. She and eight MPs from the UK Parliament are currently touring Pakistan. They were also scheduled to visit the Indian side of the Line of Control.
On Wednesday, Abrahams had accused India of not responding to allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir. “Pakistan has shown an open approach towards resolving the Kashmir issue,” Abraham said at a joint press conference with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. “We are an independent group, we are not anti-India or pro-Pakistan.”
The external affairs ministry on Thursday said that even if Abrahams’ claim of possessing a valid visa was true, it was an e-Business one. “Even if we presume that she had a visa, that was issued for a business ETA [electronic travel authorisation] and business ETA cannot be used for a primary purpose of meeting family and friends,” the ministry’s spokesperson added. However, unidentified sources in the government told PTI that Abrahams’ e-Business visa was rescinded as she was associated with anti-India activities. She was reportedly told about it on February 14.
On August 5 last year, India had imposed a lockdown in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir while stripping its special status. The Indian government had also bifurcated the state into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. In recent months, the government has put several senior political leaders from Kashmir under the stringent Public Security Act.