Kashmiri Pandit Professor Denied Entry to India Despite Karnataka Government Invitation for Event

Bengaluru : A professor of Indian origin at the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom who was invited by the Karnataka Government to attend an event here was denied entry when she landed at Bengaluru airport and was then deported, according to her posts on social media platform X. Professor Nitasha Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit academic based in London, in a series of posts on X claimed she was given no reason by immigration officials at Bengaluru airport and received no notice or information in advance from the Indian government that she would not be allowed to enter the country.

There was no immediate comment from the Karnataka government, which had organised a two day ‘Constitution and National Unity Convention -2024’ on February 24 and 25, to which Kaul was invited as a speaker.

Kaul’s bio on the social media platform states that she is a novelist, writer and poet, among other things.

“Denied entry to India for speaking on democratic & constitutional values. I was invited to a conference as esteemed delegate by Govt of Karnataka (Congress-ruled state) but Centre refused me entry. All my documents were valid & current (UK passport & OCI),” she said, sharing pictures of the invitation extended to her by the Karnataka government and other conference-related communications.

In her post on X, Kaul said that authorities unofficially indicated that she was denied entry into India as she has criticised the RSS in the past.

Reacting to the development, the Karnataka BJP was quick to label the professor an “anti-India element” and a part of what it called a ‘Break India Brigade’, criticising the Karnataka Government and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for extending an invitation to Kaul.

The BJP also went on to label Kaul a “Pakistani sympathiser” and posted headings of a couple of her writings on X.

Both Kaul and the Karnataka BJP have shared a document addressed to the station master, British Airways at Bengaluru Airport which informs that she has been refused to land in India. Her nationality mentioned in the document is United Kingdom.

Claiming that she was given no reason by immigration officials except “we cannot do anything, orders from Delhi”, Kaul said: “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.” She described her ordeal, saying, “I spent 12 hours in a flight from London to Bangalore, several hours at immigration where they shuttled me here and there, provided no info on process, then 24 hours in a holding cell (no BA flight back until next day) under direct cctv w (with) restricted movement, a narrow area to lie down.” The BJP claimed the Congress government was “threatening the unity & integrity of India” by extending an invitation to the Kashmiri Pandit professor — who has written and spoken extensively on Kashmir, Bhutan and other topics.

The BJP used the opportunity to claim that the Congress is “now using Karnataka as its laboratory to prepare ground for its divisive agendas”.

“Thanks to our security agencies, one such anti-India element was caught suspiciously entering India and detained at the airport”, the BJP further claimed. ( With PTI inputs )


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