Academic Nitasha Kaul alleges denied entry to India due to political bias

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In a contentious episode, Nitasha Kaul, a 48-year-old academic and Indian-origin professor in the UK claimed she was denied entry to India upon arriving at Bengaluru airport and subsequently deported. 

The academic, invited by the Karnataka government to participate in a convention, asserted that immigration officials cited her past criticism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a far-right Hindu nationalist paramilitary, as the reason for her denial. 

Kaul emphasized that she received no prior notice or information from Delhi regarding the denial, despite her travel arrangements being made by Karnataka, and she possessed the official letter of invitation. 

After being denied entry, Kaul reported spending 12 hours on a flight from London to Bangalore, followed by several hours at immigration and 24 hours in a holding cell with restricted movement. 

She claimed to have been denied basic facilities such as a pillow and blanket and had limited access to food and water. 

In response, the Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swiftly blamed the Congress party and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for inviting Kaul, accusing them of using Karnataka for divisive agendas and thanking security agencies for preventing what they termed an ‘anti-India element’ from entering the country. 

Nitasha Kaul, in her tweets, clarified that she is not anti-India but anti-authoritarian and pro-democracy, raising concerns about academic freedom and freedom of expression in the wake of the incident.