On Monday, Debbie Abrahams, a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom from the Labour Party, was denied entry to India by the government after her e-visa was cancelled. A day after British MP Debbie Abrahams was denied entry into India, the government explained that the denial was because of her “involvement in anti-India activities”.
The British MP, whose Indian Visa was rejected, had flown to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on Monday morning. Despite being aware of the fact that her visa was invalid, Abrahams had outraged claiming that her visa was ‘revoked’ after it was granted. She also claimed that it was done deliberately because she had been critical of the Indian government ‘over Kashmir human rights issue’.
Abrahams had even claimed that she was not allowed despite having a valid visa and it was ‘revoked’, implying that her visa was ‘revoked’ after she landed in Delhi. She had also written that she had tried to get a ‘Visa on arrival’.
Soon the ‘liberal-secular’ media took offence against the Modi government for denying space to their new anti-India hero and resorted to false propaganda on social media by toeing the same line as Abrahams.
Samsays, one of the co-founders of the ultra-leftist propaganda website Alt News, resorted to a disinformation campaign by questioning the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Indian High Commission in London, basing her claims on Debbie Abrahams’ rants.
As the government justified its action on denying her a visa, Abrahams took to Twitter again to claim that she was issued a valid visa by the Indian authorities, granting permission to travel to India. It can be seen in the image that a visa was issued to Abrahams to travel to India on 7th October 2019, valid till 5th October 2020 for business purposes.
This is the e-visa I was issued with by the Indian authorities. pic.twitter.com/QLwJhwFz3d
— Debbie Abrahams (@Debbie_abrahams) February 18, 2020
However, Abrahams did not present the complete details of her visa rejection case, rather posted misleading half-truths to portray that she had indeed a valid visa.
The same propaganda was further spread by Alt News co-founder to imply that the British MP was sent back to her country arbitrarily for her stance on Kashmir. By tweeting an image of Abrahams’ blatant lies on the issue, the Alt News founder resorted to further the false propaganda rather than correcting the British MP with facts.
The Ministry of External Affairs had issued an e-business visa to British MP Debbie Abrahams on 7th October 2019, valid till 5th October 2020 for business purposes. However, her e-Business Visa was revoked on 14 February 2020 on account of her indulging in activities which went against India’s national interest.
“The rejection of the e-Business Visa was intimated to her on 14th February”, reported India Today.
It is pertinent to note that granting a visa and rejection or revocation of a visa or electronic travel authorisation is the sovereign right of a country and the government of India can make a decision on granting a visa based on its national interest and does not bound by any other international rules.
The Indian government sources had also informed that Abrahams was notified of her rejected visa status well ahead of her journey. However, the UK MP went ahead with her journey to IGI airport in Delhi without a valid visa.
The fact is, Abrahams continued her outrage displaying an image of her visa, which was issued last year. She had never bothered to share the image of her rejected visa.
Following her visa rejection, Abrahams took a new turn as she tweeted that she had flown to India to visit her Indian relatives, who she was ‘meant to be visiting’ and also said that she had Indian members of staff accompanying her. With the claim of visiting her family and relatives, Abrahams asserted that the Indian government should have given her visa to enter the country.
However, her claims of visiting family on a business visa also falls flat as the previously issued e-Business Visa was meant only for business meetings, which can not be used for visiting “family and friends”, as claimed by her. This is not permitted as per the rules and a separate visa request has to be made for granting permission to meet friends and family.
In a tweet, former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao explained, “Visiting family and friends only when holding an e-business visa is a distortion of purpose. A visitor visa is what you need. She should, strictly speaking, have been aware of this since she is herself a lawmaker in her country and should be acquainted with such requirements.”
The point is, regardless the classification of her visa, or its purpose, Abrahams was not in the possession of a valid visa on Monday, 17 February, because her visa was rejected on 14 February itself.
Journalist Aditya Raj Kaul had shared an image of Debbie Abrahams’ rejected visa, dated 14 February. Interestingly, neither the British MP or her ‘secular-liberal’ champions in India had bothered to share that.
#EXCLUSIVE: Debbie Abrahams was issued an e-Business Visa on 7th October 2019, valid till 5th October 2020 to attend business meetings. Her e-Business Visa was revoked on 14 February 2020 on account of her indulging in activities which went against India’s national interest. pic.twitter.com/gUWnK4wCWo
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) February 18, 2020
As is evident here, Abrahams was not in possession of a valid visa as on February 17 and was hence not allowed entry. It is entirely the prerogative of a sovereign nation to decide on issuing or denying a visa to a particular foreign national. Regardless of when Abrahams’ earlier visa was issued, or its purpose, she was restricted from entering India because she did not have a valid visa.
The government of India had also clarified that there is no provision for ‘Visa on arrival’ for UK nationals. It is not clear whether Abrahams was under the illusion of some colonial privilege that she thinks enables her to enter into a sovereign nation’s territory without a valid visa.
The claims of victimhood for ‘standing up for Kashmir human rights’ also sound hollow. India has not stopped her from voicing her opinion or doing her politics in any way. But the entry into a sovereign nation is entirely the government’s prerogative and it is not clear on what basis the British MP is trying to assert her right to enter India without valid documents.