New Delhi: The visa of British MP Debbie Abrahams was revoked because of her activities that “went against India’s national interest”, government sources said, adding that she was informed about the move on February 14.
Abrahams, who has been critical of the government’s Article 370 move, was denied entry when she landed at the Delhi airport on Monday and then deported to Dubai.
“Debbie Abrahams was issued an e-Business Visa on 7th October 2019, valid till 5th October 2020 to attend business meetings. Her e-Business Visa was revoked on 14 February 2020 on account of her indulging in activities which went against India's national interest. The rejection of the e-Business Visa was intimated to her on 14th February,” sources said.
They added that Abrahams was not in possession of a valid visa at the time of her travel to India and “she was accordingly requested to return”.
“There is no provision of 'visa on arrival' for UK nationals at the airport. In any case, previously issued e-Business Visa meant for business meetings, can't be used for visiting “family and friends” as claimed by her. This is not permitted as per the rules and a separate visa request has to be made,” they said.
Abrahams, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir, said she was travelling on a valid e-visa to India to visit family and friends but her visa was revoked without explanation.
Recounting her experience at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Abrahams in a statement on Twitter said she arrived here on Monday morning and was informed that her e-visa been cancelled. Abrahams said she had presented herself at the immigration desk along with her documents and e-visa.
"...the official looked at his screen and started shaking his head. Then he told me my visa was rejected, took my passport and disappeared for about 10 minutes," she said.
"When he came back, he was very rude and aggressive, shouting at me to 'come with me'. I told him not to speak to me 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 me, so I wanted people to see me," the British MP said.
The immigration officer disappeared again, she said, adding that she phoned her sister-in-law's cousin who she was going to be staying with.
"Kai got in touch with the British High Commission and he tried to find out what was going on," she wrote on Twitter.
Abrahams said several immigration officials later came to her but none of them knew why her e-visa was cancelled. "Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn't know and was really sorry about what had happened," she said.
Reacting to Abrahams' deportation, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asked why the government was scared of critics if it claimed the situation in Kashmir was normal.
Abrahams was among a group of MPs who issued formal letters following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 last August.