Updated May 7th, 2024 at 19:47 IST

ABC Journalist's Claim She Wasn’t Allowed to Cover Elections & Asked to Leave India Is False

Avani Dias was found to have “violated visa rules” while undertaking her professional pursuits, official sources told Republic.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Edited by: Kriti Dhingra
Avani Dias was found to have “violated visa rules” while undertaking her professional pursuits, official sources told Republic. | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: A day after South Asia Bureau Chief of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Avani Dias claimed that she had to “abruptly” leave India last week after being told that her reporting "crossed a line", Republic has learnt from reliable sources that Dias's contention “is incorrect, misleading and mischievous”.

Dias was found to have “violated visa rules” while undertaking her professional pursuits, official sources told Republic, adding, “Inspite of this, on her request, she was assured that her visa would be extended for the coverage of the general elections”.

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Avani Dias's previous visa reportedly expired on 20 April 2024.

In a series of posts on social media platform ‘X’, the ABC journalist had claimed, "Last week, I had to leave India abruptly. The Modi Government told me my visa extension would be denied, saying my reporting "crossed a line". After Australian Government intervention, I got a mere two-month extension...less than 24 hours before my flight".

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Reacting to her claims, the officials further clarified that she had paid the visa fee on 18 April and her visa was extended till June end on the same day. 

“She, however, chose to leave India on 20 April”, officials told Republic, adding that at the time of her departure, she “held a valid visa” and that the "extension of her visa stood approved”.

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Dias had also claimed that she and her team members were told that her “election accreditation would not come through because of an Indian ministry directive”. "We left on Day One of voting in the national election in what Modi calls "the mother of democracy”, she wrote in a second post on ‘X’.

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Refuting her claim about not been granted permission to cover elections, official sources further revealed that the coverage of election activities outside of booths is ”permitted to all Journalist Visa holders". 

“Authority letters are required only for access to polling booths and counting stations. This, however, cannot be processed while the visa extension is under process. It is pertinent to note that other ABC correspondents - Meghna Bali and Som Patidar - have already received  their letters”, they underlined.

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Published April 23rd, 2024 at 22:38 IST