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Norwegian woman, asked to leave India, ‘violated’ visa rules by protesting against CAA

Janne-Mette Johansson, in a Facebook post Friday, said immigration officials landed at her hotel and refused to leave unless she showed them her flight ticket.

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Bengaluru: Norwegian national Janne-Mette Johansson, who was interrogated by immigration officials in Kochi and asked to leave India for taking part in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), said Friday that she is on her way to the airport to catch a flight back home.

Johansson, 71, said this on a Facebook post, which she later deleted. ThePrint tried to contact her for a comment, but she disconnected the calls.

The immigration officials told ThePrint that Johansson was interrogated as she violated her visa rules by participating in a protest.

Johansson’s incident comes days after a German exchange student at IIT Madras was also found to be violating visa norms after he was seen protesting against the citizenship law in Chennai.

A source in the home ministry told ThePrint that Jakob Georg Lindenthal, who is in Amsterdam now, was not “forced out” of India as he was anyway scheduled to leave for home.

The Norwegian national, settled in Sweden, was questioned by the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office (FRRO) Thursday, which comes under the immigration department, at Kochi airport about her participation in an anti-CAA protest held on 23 December.

Johansson, who was in India on a tourist visa, was questioned for a few hours and then let off. But, Friday morning, she posted on Facebook, saying immigration officers again turned up at her hotel and refused to leave unless she showed them her flight ticket to Sweden.

“A couple of hours back, the Bureau of Immigration showed up at my hotel again. I was told to leave the country at once or legal actions would be taken. I asked for an explanation and also something in writing. I was told I would not get anything in writing. The officer from the Bureau is not leaving me before he can see that I have a flight ticket. Now pretty soon, on my way to the airport. A friend fixing a flight ticket to Dubai and from there, catching a flight back home to Sweden (sic),” read her post.

Screenshot of Johansson’s Facebook post, which she later deleted

Johansson, whose visa expires in March next year, claimed she had approached the local police on 23 December, asking whether she could participate in the protest from Gandhi Circle in Ernakulam to Vasco Da Gama Square in Fort Kochi.

She claimed that she was given a verbal assurance that she could.

About her interrogation by the FRRO, Johansson reportedly said she was kept waiting at the Kochi airport for hours before and after she met the officials and had gone through a “bad and belittling interrogation session”.


Also read: German student at IIT-Madras not forced out, was going home for Christmas anyway: MHA


Rules go against Johansson

The FRRO told ThePrint that Johansson has been asked to leave the country as she was found to be violating her visa norms.

Sources in the Kerala police said Johansson was detained by the immigration department because she violated her visa rules, which require foreign nationals to “strictly adhere to the purpose of visit declared while submitting the visa application”.

“She had come on a tourist visa to India and there are several specifications under this as to what foreign nationals can or cannot do. They are allowed to take a short-term yoga class or an ayurvedic treatment but participating in protests or public agitations is prohibited. A tourist visa cannot be used for activism,” a police source said.

Rules laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs for foreign nationals and OCI (overseas citizenship of India) cardholders say: “There will be no restriction in visiting religious places and attending normal religious activities like attending religious discourses. However, preaching religious ideologies, making speeches in religious places, distribution of audio or visual display/ pamphlets pertaining to religious ideologies, spreading conversion etc. will not be allowed.”

(With PTI inputs)


Also read: This is why Modi will win the war protesters have waged against him on CAA


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Sbe says she got a verbal permission from the Police station to take part in the protest. Then a verbal order to leave the country should also be okay with her. Nowhere in the world, a tourist will be allowed to preach, to undertake spreading of amy belief or take part in political activity , unless specifically mentioned in the visa

  2. In strict law, the 71 year old Caucasian lady, who would not show up on a security data base anywhere in the world, may have committed a technical breach of her visa conditions. When hundreds of thousands of Indians, of all age groups, are protesting peacefully all over the country, unclear what threat she posed to public order. Possibly picked up by facial recognition technology, set off a harsh response. Undercuts our image as a land welcoming of guests. 2. She was entitled to a written order of deportation, for that is what this amounts to.

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