British MP who leads Kashmir group denied entry to India

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Indian officials have denied a British lawmaker entry after she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport

NEW DELHI —
Indian officials denied a British lawmaker entry on Monday after she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to an accompanying aide.

Debbie Abrahams, a Labour Party Member of Parliament who chairs a parliamentary group focused on the disputed region of Kashmir, was unable to clear customs after her valid Indian visa was rejected, the aide, Harpreet Upal, told The Associated Press.

Abrahams and Upal arrived at the airport on an Emirates flight from Dubai at 9 a.m. Upal said the immigration officials did not cite any reason for denying Abrahams entry and revoking her visa, a copy of which, valid until October 2020, was shared with the AP. A spokesman for India’s foreign ministry did not immediately comment.

Abrahams has been a member of Parliament since 2011 and was on a two-day personal trip to India, she said in a statement.

“I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no one seemed to know,” she said in the statement. “Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn’t know and was really sorry about what had happened. So now I am just waiting to be deported … unless the Indian Government has a change of heart. I’m prepared to let the fact that I’ve been treated like a criminal go, and I hope they will let me visit my family and friends.”

Abrahams has been an outspoken critic of the Indian government’s move last August stripping Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and demoting it from a state to a federal territory.

Shortly after the changes to Kashmir’s status were passed by India’s Parliament, Abrahams wrote a letter to India’s High Commissioner to the U.K., saying the action “betrays the trust of the people” of Kashmir.

India took more than 20 foreign diplomats on a visit to Kashmir last week, the second such trip Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has organized in six months.

Access to the region remains tight, with no foreign journalists allowed.

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