Bangladeshi student asked to leave India after posting anti-CAA protest photos
A Bangladeshi student at Visva-Bharati has been asked to leave India for participating in "anti-government activities" after she posted a few photographs -- on Facebook -- of protests against the citizenship law at the university, reports The Telegraph, India.
The first-year undergraduate student had come to India in 2018. She has been pursuing her Bachelor of Design degree at the department of fine arts.
The leave-India letter dated February 14 was issued to her by the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office of the ministry of home affairs, reports Telegraph.
In December, students and a section of varsity teachers had taken out several rallies on the campus against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"Whereas […], holder of Bangladesh passport …Is present in India on the strength of S-1 (student) visa bearing…studying a course on Bachelor of Design at Visva-Bharati University, West Bengal. And whereas she is found to have engaged in anti-government activities. And such activity being a breach of her visa, has thus committed visa violation," the notice reads.
There are two orders mentioned in the letter (which is in the possession of The Telegraph) that asks her to leave the country within 15 days of the receipt of the notice.
"If foreign students cannot protest or comment on a movement by their friends, my question, whether we are living in a democratic country?" asked a student of Visva-Bharati.
The 20-year-old received the "leave-India" notice on Wednesday and sounded distraught about the uncertainty she faces over her education.
"I am still unable to understand what wrong I have committed to face such a punishment. I posted a few photographs out of curiosity as many of my friends had participated in the protest rally. But when I found that a particular group of people were trolling me on social media, I immediately deactivated my Facebook account. I am really innocent," said the Bangladeshi student according to The Telegraph.
"When I received the letter from the department today, a dark sense of grave loss gripped me. I came India to study at Visva-Bharati as I dream to be an artist. I don't know what will happen to me now," she added.
One of her friends said she did not participate in any rally against the CAA but had merely posted a few photographs on social media. Her post had attracted the attention of several right-wing people, who trolled her and demanded she be sent back.
At least 250 social media posts labelled her as an "anti-national", the friend said.
Sources in Bangladesh deputy high commission in Kolkata said they were not aware of the leave-India notice to the student. "But we knew that she was under scanner and had informed our superiors in Dhaka. In such cases, there is very little we can do," The Telegraph quoted sources as saying.
A section of varsity teachers and officials suspect someone had lodged a complaint with the ministry of external affairs.
Sources said the Centre had sent two emails -- first on February 14, asking her to meet them on February 19 and later on February 20, when she was asked to report to the office on February 24.
"I do not check my emails regularly. After I got the letter, I checked my email," the student said.
A teacher said: "The girl was not interviewed or given any chance. The date in the letter is February 14 that means the letter was ready when the office had asked the girl to meet," a teacher said.
The student, along with a few of her friends, will meet officials of the Foreigners Regional Registration office in Kolkata today to request them to review their decision.