New Delhi: YouTuber Karl Rock of New Zealand origin has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court asking for his name to be removed from a ‘black list’ so he can re-enter India and unite with wife.
Rock, whose actual name is Karl Edward Rice, claims the Indian government had cancelled his visa last year but didn’t inform him as to why he was “blacklisted”.
In a video uploaded to his verified YouTube channel, which has 1.79 million subscribers, Rock says he hasn’t seen his wife, Manisha Malik, in almost a year. Published 9 July, the video is titled ‘Why I Haven’t Seen My Wife in 269 Days #Blacklist”.
“Today we are filing a petition in the high court asking for my name to be removed from the blacklist. In the Delhi High Court,” he said in the video.
Rock, who is now in New Zealand, claims he sent “multiple emails” to the home ministry, and that Malik had even gone to the ministry to find a solution, but to no avail.
He had also written to the Indian high commissioner in Wellington, New Zealand, and even visited the High Commission, but received no response, he said in the video.
An official of the Ministry of Home Affairs, responding to ThePrint’s queries, said, “Karl Edward Rice, a New Zealand national, has been restricted from entering India till next year due to violating terms and conditions of his visa. He was found doing business activities on a tourist visa and also violating certain other visa conditions.”
Another source in the ministry added that Rock “was blacklisted for multiple visa violations on his last visit”. “He had indulged in economic activities without informing the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office). He did not submit his income tax returns and had also attempted entry into restricted areas. All this is not allowed while on a tourist visa.”
ThePrint has reached the Ministry of External Affairs by call for a comment, but there was no response by the time of publishing this report.
‘Karl, you have been blacklisted’
Rock makes YouTube videos on a range of ideas — from travel experiences to exposing call centre scams. He claimed he last left India in October 2020 to travel across Dubai and Pakistan.
“When I left through the New Delhi International Airport, they cancelled my visa. They would not tell me why they were cancelling my visa,” he said in his video.
In Dubai, Rock applied for a new visa, but “quite surprisingly they called me into the Indian High Commission in Dubai … and they told me in person that, ‘Karl, you’ve been blacklisted and we can’t issue you a visa to go home to India’”.
In the same video, he claimed he was not given a reason for being blacklisted.
“Before somebody is blacklisted, they’re meant to be given a right of reply and time to reply. I wasn’t,” he said.
An appeal & a petition
Since being restricted entry into the country, Rock said he and his wife have been approaching the Indian government to resolve the matter but have not received any response so far.
In his petition to the Delhi High Court, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint, his wife Malik is listed as the petitioner.
Rock also started an online petition on Change.org asking for support. As of 6.30 pm Friday, it had been signed by over 37,000 people.
Rock considers Delhi his home in India, he said in a tweet Friday. The couple met in the national capital in October 2014, and were married in April 2019. According to Rock, his father-in-law’s home is in Hansi, Haryana, and mother-in-law’s village is in Rajasthan’s Churu district.
Dear @jacindaardern, the Govt. of India has blocked me from entering India separating me from my wife & family in Delhi. They blacklisted me without telling me, giving reasons, or letting me reply. Please watch my struggle https://t.co/dq0Z98SCFw @NZinIndia @MukteshPardeshi pic.twitter.com/sLM2nk9lR3
— Karl Rock (@iamkarlrock) July 9, 2021
An earlier version of this report erroneously attributed a Ministry of Home Affairs official’s comment to one from Ministry of External Affairs. The error is regretted.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)
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