The Centre has rescinded the visa of Jakob Lindenthal, the German exchange student who was studying at Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and was sent back to his country in December for participating in protests against the Citizenship Act, reported The Indian Express on Saturday.

The student said the Indian Embassy in Germany told him about the visa cancellation on February 8, but did not cite any reasons. Lindenthal is a student of the Technical University-Dresden, and had joined the physics department of IIT-M in July 2019. The exchange programme was a collaborative initiative of the two institutions. He was due to complete his course work by May. His visa was reportedly going to expire on June 27.

“Mr Lindenthal’s visa has indeed now been officially cancelled, meaning that he is no longer able to travel to India to continue his student exchange,” said Technical University-Dresden’s Head of Press Office and Public Relations, Kim Magister. “However, he was able to successfully complete one semester at the IIT Madras. For this period, he will receive a transcript of records from our partner university.”

IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said the institute was not involved in the decision to cancel Lindenthal’s visa as it is decided by immigration authorities. “If visa is granted, the student or visitor comes [to the country to study], else they do not,” he said. “This is the process followed everywhere.”

As part of the exchange programme, TUD has decided to “optimally prepare” its students before sending them abroad. Magister said the primary objective was to raise awareness among the institute’s students on understanding and respect for “regional particularities all over the world”.

On January 19, The Indian Express had quoted Lindenthal as saying that the Indian Embassy in Germany had advised him against going back to India on his visa. The student had then said that he was looking forward to completing his programme even after being sent back.

On December 26 last year, Lindenthal had said the anti-Citizenship Act demonstrations in India showed that political freedom and rule of law need the support of millions of people. During a protest in Chennai, he had carried a poster that made a reference to Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler: “1933 to 1945 – we have been there.”