UK professor says she was denied entry into India for event

London: An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and professor at the University of Westminster on February 25 alleged that she was denied entry to India to speak on democratic and constitutional values.

Nitasha Kaul, a faculty member at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, said that she was invited by the Karnataka government for the conference on ‘The Constitution and Unity of India’ being held in Bengaluru on February 24 and 25.

In a series of social media posts, she alleged that she was refused entry by the Central government despite possessing all valid documents.

She said she was given no reason by the immigration officials except stating that they could not do anything as there were orders from Delhi.

“My travel & logistics had been arranged by Karnataka & I had the official letter with me. I received no notice or info in advance from Delhi that I would not be allowed to enter,” her post said.

As per her post, Prof. Kaul arrived at the Kempegowda International Airport on February 23 in a flight from London.

“I spent 12 hours in a flight from London to Bengaluru, several hours at immigration where they shuttled me here & there, provided no info on process, then 24 hours in a holding cell (no BA flight back until next day) under direct cctv restricted movement, a narrow area to lie down and no easy access to food and water, made dozens of calls to airport for basic things as a pillow and blanket, which they refused to provide, then 12 hours on the flight back to London,” another post said.

Prof. Kaul said that she was a globally respected academic and public intellectual, passionate about liberal democratic values.

“I care for gender equity, challenging misogyny, sustainability, civil & political liberties, rule of law. I am not anti-Indian, I am anti-authoritarian & pro-#democracy. Decades of my work speaks for me. The officials informally made references to my criticism of RSS, a far-right Hindu nationalist paramilitary from years ago. I have travelled to India numerous times since. I was invited by a state government, but refused entry by the Central government,” she said.

She alleged that in the past, right-wing Hindutva trolls had for years targeted her.

Tagging the official X handles of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Social Welfare Minister H.C. Mahadevappa, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the Ministry of External Affairs, she further posted, “How can the world’s largest democracy be threatened by my pen & the word? How is it ok for Centre to not allow a professor to be at a conference on Constitution where she was invited by state government? To give no reason? Not the India we cherish, is it?”