On Friday (July 9), India based New Zealand origin vlogger Karl Rock alleged that he has been blacklisted by the Indian government. He is a traveller who had shifted to India about 2 years ago to explore the country, and married an Indian woman. He said that after he went to stay in Dubai and Pakistan for some time, he found that his Indian visa was cancelled, and when he went to Dubai to get the visa renewed, he was told that he has been blacklisted by the Indian government.
Although the reason of his alleged blacklisting is not known, it is being speculated that his support to anti-India causes, like his support for anti-CAA protests in 2019 could be a reason. On 19 December 2019, he had posted a ground report video on YouTube, where he and his wife had participated in anti-CAA protests in Delhi. It is clearly a violation of visa norms, as foreign nationals are not allowed to participate in political activities in India.
The video originally posted by Karl Rock has been made private now, which means viewers can’t watch it. However, when it was published, a large number of people had reacted against him. Some of them had even posted videos on YouTube, educating him how he was wrong about the CAA.
Even though that video is no longer available for public, a report by Times Now on the same date show that he was participating in the protests. Times Now had interviewed Karl, where he had claimed that CAA is a religiously discriminatory law, and as a secular country, India should not have laws based on religion. He said that he was at the protest site to support the people protesting against the law.
This makes it clears that Karl Rock had violated his visa conditions by participating in a political movement that had turned violent at the time.
It is interesting to note that his India visa was cancelled when he was staying in Pakistan for several months, a country he had left abruptly just three years ago because the ISI was watching him suspecting him of being a spy.
He had said that he was constantly under surveillance during his Pakistan visit in 2018, and due to this he became so paranoid that he had to end the visit early. On 22 May 2018, he had posted a video, where he had said that he was feeling very paranoid because Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency was watching him after he had crossed the border by foot.
He said that immediately after he crossed the Wagah border, the Pakistani officials asked where he was going, and when he said that he was going to Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar, the officials became suspicious, because Peshawar is a hub of terror activities, and it is also close to the Afghan border. He said that apart from crossing the border on foot, going to Peshawar after that were big mistakes.
After he gave the details of his friends in Pakistan to the authorities, his friends started to get calls asking details about him. Initially he thought the authorities were worried about his safety because there is history of foreigners getting disappeared in Peshawar. However, after returning from Peshawar, things started getting weird, as the authorities wanted to know every detail of his movement from his friends, and wanted to interview his Peshawar friend whom he had visited.
All the calls came from government authorities refusing to revealing identity, which means that they came from the Intelligence Agency, Karl said. He said that they must have suspected him of being an Indian or American spy, because he was travelling along, crossed the border on foot, and visited terror hub Peshawar.
He said that it is not nice to being spied on, it is not nice to being followed around, it is not nice to being watched, and it does not make one feel safe. Due to this situation, he wanted to leave the country as soon as possible as he didn’t want to be under surveillance. He crossed back to India through Wagah border soon after that, saying that it was shame that he had to end the visit early.
Despite this experience, he went back to Pakistan in 2020, and spent months there, visiting various places in the country. In recent weeks, he has posted several videos on his YouTube channel chronicling his visit to various places in Pakistan.
He had even visited Pakistan occupied Kashmir. In January and February this year, he had posted several videos showing his visit to the ‘other side of Kashmir’. While he is a traveller and he has the right to pursue his interest, his PoK raises eyebrows because earlier even his visit to cities in Pakistan was kept under watch.
It is not sure whether he was under ISI surveillance or not. It is interesting that while Pakistani intelligence was worried about his visit to Peshawar, he was freely roaming around in PoK, another sensitive region.