UK-Based Professor Denied Entry to India Amid Controversy

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In a heated incident, Nitasha Kaul, a 48-year-old academic originally from India and now living in the UK, claimed she was refused entry into India when she arrived at Bengaluru airport and was sent back.

Kaul, who had been invited by the Karnataka government for an event, stated that immigration officials mentioned her past criticism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist group, as the reason for her denial.

She highlighted that she had not received any prior notice or information from Delhi about the refusal, even though her trip was arranged by Karnataka, and she had an official invitation letter.

After being turned away, Kaul said she spent 12 hours on a flight from London to Bangalore, followed by several hours at immigration, and then 24 hours in a holding cell with limited movement. She claimed she was not provided with basic necessities like a pillow and blanket and had restricted access to food and water.

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

Kaul, in her tweets, clarified that she is not against India but against authoritarianism and in favor of democracy. She raised concerns about academic freedom and freedom of expression following the incident.