New Delhi: The denial of entry to British Labour Member of Parliament Debbie Abrams into India on February 17 may not be entirely related to her condemnation of Article 370 in relation to Kashmir. Her relations with a major chunk of Kashmiri Diaspora from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir might have contributed to the Indian government taking a serious against her.
According to published reports, Abram’s affiliation with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is the reason for blocking her entry into India.
The failure of the government to not clear the smog over why she was not permitted to enter India has led to speculation and in some quarters criticism of the country for taking such an extreme step. So much so that even the Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted a condemnation regarding her deportation. Though a day later his fellow party member Abhishek Singhvi endorsed the government’s decision to deport her. He was citing initiatives Abram spearheaded via the APPG.
An APPG is an unofficial multi-partisan body governed by House rules consisting of standards set by the parliament. Not only was Abram an outspoken critic of New Delhi’s move to abrogate Article 370, but she heads the APPG on Kashmir.
Many of the group’s MPs from various parties represent constituencies containing Diaspora from the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir. These voters lobby for positions that strategically straddle the line between J&K’s independence and the state’s accession to Pakistan.
Lord Nazir, notorious for propagating the latter stance and staging protests outside the Indian High Commission in London, has been a member of this particular Parliamentary Group.
Upon arriving at the immigration counter at the New Delhi airport, the official said that her visa was rejected and took her passport before taking leave for ten minutes. When the officer returned, he was discourteous to her and then she was taken to an area demarcated as the Deportee cell.
The British High Commission tried to provide assistance but to no avail as she has been already deported to Dubai.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs asserted that she was notified that her visa was canceled. However, the MP denied this. In her statement to PTI, she said that she received no notifications regarding any cancellation.