British lawmaker Debbie Abrahams’ e-Business visa was revoked as she was involved in anti-India activities and the cancellation was conveyed to her on February 14, government sources said on Tuesday (February 18).
Asserting that the grant, rejection or revocation of a visa or electronic travel authorisation is the sovereign right of a country, the sources said Abrahams was issued an e-Business visa on October 7 last year which was valid till October 5, 2020 for attending business meetings.
“Her e-Business visa was revoked on February 14, 2020 on account of her indulging in activities which went against India’s national interest. The rejection of the e-Business visa was intimated to her on February 14,” a source said.
Abrahams, who chairs a British parliamentary group on Kashmir, was denied entry into India upon her arrival at the New Delhi airport on Monday (February 17).
Government officials had said on Monday that she was informed in advance that her e-visa had been cancelled.
There is no provision of visa on arrival for UK nationals at the airport, sources said, dismissing Abrahams’ contention she should have been granted a visa on arrival. Sources said, as per the rules, previously issued e-Business visa meant for business meetings, cannot be used for visiting “family and friends”, as stated by the British MP.
“This is not permitted as per the rules and a separate visa request has to be made,” a source said.
The Labour Party MP had said that despite having a valid visa she was denied entry into India after she landed at the airport here. “Once again the key questions are why was it revoked and when,” the Labour Party MP questioned.
“Again, for clarity, I am PRO human rights and social justice. I will always speak up for people who are not afforded these rights including Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control,” she added, as part of an ongoing social media row over the issue.
She was among a group of British MPs who issued formal letters expressing concerns over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 in August last year.
“We are gravely concerned at the announcement by Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed by Presidential Order,” the Opposition MP had noted in her letter to the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the time.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Tuesday backed the government’s deportation of British lawmaker Debbie Abrahams, saying she is not just an MP but a “Pakistan proxy”.
“The deportation of Debbie Abrahams by India was indeed necessary, as she is not just an MP, but a Pak proxy known for her clasp with Pak govt and ISI. Every attempt that tries to attack India’s sovereignty must be thwarted,” Singhvi tweeted.
The deportation of Debbie Abrahams by India was indeed necessary, as she is not just an MP, but a Pak proxy known for her clasp with e Pak govt and ISI. Every attempt that tries to attack India's sovereignty must be thwarted.#Kashmir#DebbieAbrahams
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) February 18, 2020
Singhvi party colleague Shashi Tharoor had, however, tweeted in support of Abrahams on Monday. “I find it ironic that some of the same people who applauded me for going to Britain as an Indian MP & telling them off about their colonial misbehaviour, are attacking me for wanting India to grant a British MP the same privilege! If we can dish it out, we shld be able to take it,” Tharoor wrote on the microblogging site.
i find it ironic that some of the same people who applauded me for going to Britain as an Indian MP& telling them off about their colonial misbehaviour, are attacking me for wanting India to grant a British MP the same privilege! If we can dish it out, we shld be able to take it.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 17, 2020
(With inputs from agencies)