India denies entry to Asian origin UK academic

Nitasha Kaul was detained at the Bangalore airport and put in a holding cell for nearly 24 hours, before being deported to London

File photo of International departure gate in Kempegowda International airport in Bangalore, India. (iStock)

Shajil Kumar

A UK-based professor of Asian origin was denied entry by the immigration authorities at Bangalore airport in India on Friday (23) despite being an invitee for a function organised by the Karnataka state, according to multiple reports.

Nitasha Kaul, who teaches at the University of Westminster, recounted her ordeal on social media and said that she was detained in a holding cell for nearly 24 hours before she was deported to London.

In India, it is the central government that handles immigration matters.

Kaul (47), who is also an Overseas Citizen of India and a Kashmiri, is known for her strident views against Indian right-wing organisations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and its parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

In a thread on X (formerly Twitter), she wrote, “I was given no reason by immigration except ‘we cannot do anything, 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.”

“I have travelled to India numerous times since. I was invited by a state govt, but refused entry by the central govt,” she added.

She said she was put in a holding cell for 24 hours as there was no British Airways return flight till next day. In the cell, she was “under direct CCTV with restricted movement, a narrow area to lie down and no easy access to food and water, made dozens of calls to the airport for basic things such as a pillow and blanket, which they refused to provide.”

Kaul was invited to speak at a two-day meet ‘Constitution and National Unity Convention – 2024’ organised by the Karnataka state government on February 24 and 25. (Agencies)