India denies entry to UK MP who chairs group on Kashmir

NEW DELHI: Indian officials have denied entry to a British legislator who chairs a parliamentary group focused on the disputed region of Kashmir.
Debbie Abrahams, a Labour MP who was visiting family, was unable to clear customs on Monday after her valid Indian visa was rejected when she landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Abrahams and her aide Harpreet Upal arrived at the airport in India from Dubai in the morning. After presenting her documents, an official “looked at his screen and started shaking his head”, Abrahams said in a statement. The official informed her the visa was rejected and left the desk for 10 minutes, she said. “When he came back, he was very rude and aggressive.”
She then called a relative, who contacted the British High Commission seeking support. “Just to be clear, I have Indian relatives who I was meant to be visiting with and have Indian members of staff accompanying me,” Abrahams later tweeted. “The reason I got into politics is advance social justice and human rights for all. I will continue to challenge my own government and others on these issues.”

Abrahams has been an MP since 2011 and is an outspoken critic of the Indian government’s move last August, stripping Kashmir of its autonomous status. Shortly after the change to Kashmir’s status was passed by India’s Parliament, Abrahams wrote a letter to India’s High Commissioner to the UK, saying the action “betrays the trust of the people” of Kashmir.
It may be mentioned that access to the Kashmir region remains tight and no foreign journalists are allowed. More than two dozen diplomats visited Indian-held Kashmir last week including European diplomats, some of whom declined a previous invitation from New Delhi to visit the region.
Last month fifteen foreign envoys visited Kashmir but the trip was tightly controlled with no independent meetings. A proposed vote in the European Union Parliament next month could condemn India for its actions in Kashmir.

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