HomeAmericasPoliticsVisa Privileges Of Diaspora Critics Of Modi Government Being Revoked: HRW

Visa Privileges Of Diaspora Critics Of Modi Government Being Revoked: HRW

Visa Privileges Of Diaspora Critics Of Modi Government Being Revoked: HRW

Visa Privileges Of Diaspora Critics Of Modi Government Being Revoked: HRW

India-West Staff Reporter

NEW YORK, NY – Indian authorities are revoking visa privileges to overseas critics of Indian origin who have spoken out against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government’s policies, Human Rights Watch said in a press release on March 17.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi often attends mass gatherings of diaspora party supporters in the United States, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere to celebrate Indian democracy, while his government has targeted people it claims are “tarnishing the image” of the country, it said.

“Indian government reprisals against members of the diaspora who criticize the BJP’s abusive and discriminatory policies show the authorities’ growing hostility to criticism and dialogue,” said Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities seem intent on expanding politically motivated repression against Indian activists and academics at home to foreign citizens of Indian origin beyond India’s borders.”

The organization said that in 2021, the government downgraded the privileges of the 4.5 million OCI cardholders by re-categorizing them as “foreign nationals,” and requiring them to seek special permission to carry out research and journalism, or visit any area in India listed as “protected.”

Indian authorities have also prevented academics who are OCI cardholders from entering the country, Human Rights Watch said, citing that on February 23, the authorities barred Nitasha Kaul, a British professor at the University of Westminster in London, from entering India to attend a conference on the constitution. Kaul has been a vocal critic of the BJP and its affiliated groups, and in 2019 she testified before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2023, the authorities revoked the OCI status of an American journalist shortly after the journalist published a report about criminal actions by an Indian company. The journalist, who did not wish to be identified, told Human Rights Watch: “No specific allegation was made against me, and no evidence has been produced despite several requests.”

“Foreign governments eager to partner with India on trade and security should take note that the Indian government is increasing repression to hide a deteriorating human rights situation,” HRW said. “These governments should press the Modi administration to interact with its critics to bring about reform instead of intimidating them into silence.”

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  • This a very good policy of the present Indian government. If an overseas Indian with OCI card is critical of INdia or Indian government, then he should abandon his/her OCI and focus his/her energy on the country he/she is living. The giving of OCI card is a privilege of respected PM Modi government and it has every right to revoke it. No other government other than BJP has given such a privilege. Even US can your revoke your green card under some circumstances. So respect the privilege given.

    March 19, 2024
  • Well- done BJP. now Papu( rahulbaba fake ghandi ) cannot bad mouth BJP, Modiji, or governing state of India. Next stop issuing OCI. Indians who are not Indian nationals are taking advantage of OCI.

    March 19, 2024
  • This privilege, of OCI card to NRIs, was not devised under the current regime of BJP. It has been in existence since long. Do give credit to past Governments too.

    March 19, 2024

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