India expells Norwegian woman over CAA protest

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KOCHI: A Norwegian woman on holiday in India’s southern state of Kerala has been told to leave the country after she joined a protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new citizenship law, authorities said on Friday. At least 25 people have been killed in protests across the country since the law, seen by critics as discriminatory toward Muslims, was adopted on Dec. 11. A German exchange student was told to leave the country this week after taking part in two rallies against the law. “The Norwegian lady has participated in a protest in violation of her visa condition,” said Anoop Krishna, the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer at Kochi airport. “She has been asked to leave the country as early as possible. The tourist visa on which she visited the country does not allow participation in any protests.” The tourist, Janne-Mette Johansson, 71, declined to comment to Reuters. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi. Johansson posted on her Facebook page about a Dec. 23 protest in Kochi. “No riots, just people determined … lifting up their voices, saying what has to be said,” she wrote alongside pictures of the march, including one of her brandishing a sign. Johansson told the Times of India said she had first asked police if she could take part. “I was given a verbal assurance that I could,” she told the newspaper.
Opposition politicians decried the two expulsions. “India’s image as a tolerant democracy is taking a hit internationally due to the knee jerk reactions of PM #Modi & @AmitShah!” tweeted Shama Mohamed, a Congress party spokeswoman, in reference to the prime minister and home minister. The new law makes it easier for minorities from India’s Muslim-majority neighbors – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – who settled in India before 2015 to get citizenship. Critics say the exclusion of Muslims is discriminatory and that the award of citizenship based on religion violates India’s secular constitution. A Norwegian tourist on Friday said authorities had ordered her to leave India after taking part in protests against a new citizenship law, becoming the second European to be ejected over the demonstrations. Janne-Mette Johansson, 71, told that police gave her “verbal assurances” that she could take part in peaceful demonstrations against the law that critics say discriminates against India’s Muslims. “Yesterday [Thursday], Indian immigration officials came to my hotel for questioning and I was mentally tortured. Today, they again showed up at my hotel asking me to leave the country or they will take a legal action and deport me,” she said. The woman, who had posted photos from the demonstration in the southern state of Kerala on Facebook, added that she would leave India for Dubai on Friday evening and then fly to Sweden. European visitors to India require visas and the Press Trust of India news agency quoted an official from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office as saying that Johansson “violated visa norms”. Earlier this week a German studying physics in the southern Indian city of Chennai was also asked to leave after taking part in a protest and comparing the law to anti-Jewish Nazi legislation, PTI reported. Photos on social media purportedly of the student, named as Jakob Lindenthal, showed him carrying a placard saying “1933-1945 We have been there”.
“After the Nazi era, many people claimed not to have known anything about genocides or atrocities or stated that they were only passive,” Lindenthal told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “Therefore I see it as a duty to learn from these lessons and not only watch when things happen that one believes to be the stepping stones to a possibly very dangerous development.”–