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Why Israeli author Susan Nathan was deported from India

April 20, 2012 13:31 IST

In February, an Israeli couple -- Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi -- were deported from Kochi for allegedly indulging in counter-intelligence operations for Israeli spy agency Mossad.

Now, 62-year-old Israeli writer Susan Nathan is in the eye of the storm ever since her book The Other Side of Israel was published in Kozhikode.

The Intelligence Bureau, which kept Susan on its watch list, suspected that she too was indulging in intelligence gathering activities. She was ordered to be deported by the Kerala police and also the Kerala high court. And though she preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court, she was packed off prior to the start of trial.

Nathan had been booked under the Foreigners Act, 1946 -- Sections 14(a) and (b) -- for visa violation. The UK-born Israel national had come to India with a tourist visa on a British passport in 2009. Her visa expired on March 16, 2011.

Nathan proclaimed that she is a social worker, teacher, community support worker, counsellor and group facilitator and that her writings are stated as being accepted and appreciated worldwide.

She came to India on October 14, 2010 to teach as honorary faculty at the Institute of Palliative Medicine, a unit of Pain and Palliative Care Society, Government Medical College, in Kozhikode. She promised institute authorities that she would provide voluntary training to healthcare professionals -- a condition that was incorporated in the visa as well. 

However, on reaching India, the police alleged, she did not honour her commitment. She allegedly associated with some religious fundamentalists and was more eager to do something else.

Based on the inquiry conducted by the special branch, the police issued Nathan a quit notice.

The police also contended their inquiry showed that the writer was overstaying in Kochi for publication of the Malayalam version of her book The other side of Israel, which is stated to be a full-fledged criticism of the activists of Israel.

The Kerala High Court, while observing that there cannot be any question of violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India, upheld Nathan's deportation

The writer has since left for Tel Aviv and has decided to battle her case in the Supreme Court through her lawyers. Her lawyers say that she would return to India depending on the verdict of the Supreme Court.

The police are, however, sure of winning that battle.

We were very much within our right to deport her immediately. The Supreme Court has not issued a stay on the deportation. There were charges against her and we found the need to deport her in the interest of national security, a senior police official said.

Vicky Nanjappa