After being denied entry into India on Monday, Labour MP Debbie Abrahams issued a formal statement claiming having suffered an ordeal just as she was being deported to Dubai. Mentioning that she presented herself at the immigration desk with requisite documents including the e-visa, Abrahams claimed that an immigration official rudely directed her to sit in an area marked as a Deportee cell. Thereafter, she got in touch with her Indian host who contacted the British High Commission.
According to the Labour MP, the officials were not willing to disclose the reason for her visa being revoked. Moreover, her request to get a ‘visa on arrival’ was also rebuffed. Later, she opined that the officials had treated her as a ‘criminal’. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs sources revealed that Abrahams had been communicated in advance about her visa being cancelled.
“Along with everyone else, I presented myself at the immigration desk with my documents including my e-visa, had my photograph taken and then the official looked at his screen and started shaking his head. Then he told me my visa was rejected, took my passport, and disappeared for about 10 minutes. When he came back he was very rude and aggressive shouting at me to ‘come with me'. I told him not to speak to me like that and was then taken to a cordoned-off area marked as a Deportee Cell.
He then ordered me to sit down and I refused. I didn’t know what they might do or where else they may take me, so I wanted people to see me. He disappeared again when I rang my sister-in-law’s cousin, Kai, who I was meant to be staying with. Kai got in touch with the British High Commission and he tried to find out what was going on. After lots of different immigration officials came to me, I tried to establish why the visa had been revoked and if I could get a ‘visa on arrival’ but no-one seemed to know.
Even the person who seemed to be in charge said he didn’t know and was really sorry about what had happened. So now I am just waiting to be deported unless the Indian Government has a change of heart. I’m prepared to let the fact that I’ve been treated like a criminal go, and I hope they will let me visit my family and friends.”
Representing the constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth since January 2011, Abrahams is the Chair of the British Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group. As per the website, its purpose is to support the right of Kashmiri people to self-determination and to highlight the abuses of human rights in Kashmir. After the abrogation of Article 370, she wrote to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking whether UK would raise the matter at the UN Security Council meeting in September 2019.
On February 4, 2020, she participated in the Kashmir Solidarity Day seminar in London. The event also witnessed the participation of Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, the Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK and Sardar Masood Khan, the ‘President’ of PoK. The seminar was organised by the Women Council of Jammu Kashmir Self-Determination Movement International.