A German student at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has said he was asked to leave India for protesting against the new citizenship law that has sparked unrest across the country.
During a protest in Chennai last week, Jakob Lindenthal had carried a poster that made a reference to the Nazi rule in his own country: “1933 to 1945 – we have been there”.
Lindenthal had a semester left of his post-graduation in Physics and he was scheduled to leave India in May 2020.
Lindenthal told news organisations IIT-Madras and immigration officials asked him to leave Chennai on Monday. “There were apparently administration issues with my visa. After ruling these out, I was extensively questioned by the immigration officer about my political opinions. Then I was informed about the decision (asking him to leave),” he was quoted by News18.com as saying.
He added that he would consult his lawyer and decide the next course of action.
According to one of Jakob’s friends, who was quoted by TheNewsMinute.com, “Jakob was called by his co-ordinator at IIT and he was told that there was an issue with his residence permit and he had to go to the immigration department. Later, he told us that an officer spoke to him about the permit and then casually asked what his opinion was on the anti-CAA protest. When Jakob made his opposition clear, the officer told him that he disagreed. Jakob was asked to wait outside. He was called back and told to leave India immediately."
Speaking to Indian Express from the airport, Jakob was quoted as saying, “I do love the IIT-M campus, I love India but I am concerned about illiberal extremes in the country… In Germany, nobody is ever evicted for participating in a legal demonstration.”
A students' body, ChintaBar, tweeted in solidarity with Lindenthal. "ChintaBAR extends solidarity and gratitude to Jakob Lindenthal, for being part of struggles to protect the rights of people in this country and his concern for humanity," they tweeted.
Reports said a foreigner participating in a political activity or protest is a violation of visa norms.