A student from Germany studying Master of Science (Physics) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras was asked to leave the country on Monday (December 23) for participating in a series of protests against the amended Citizenship Act.
Jakob Lindenthal from Germany’s Dresden joined the MS programme in August this year under an exchange program. Speaking to The Federal, Jakob said immigration officials confronted him for participating in the protests and asked him to leave the country.
He said the staff in his department had informed him he was summoned by the immigration office. “I went there and the initial conversation was friendly. So I told them everything. Soon, they started confronting me on why I participated in protests held against the Citizenship Act in Chennai. Only then I realised things were getting serious,” Jakob said.
“They told me the protests held in the city were all without permission. And of all, I do not have any permission to participate in such protests as I have come here on students’ visa,” Jakob added. Though the officials did not explicitly mention they were interrogating him for participating in the protests, Jakob said he got the hint when they questioned him about CAB and the protests regarding it.
“Only then I came to know that all the protests that took place in the city were illegal,” he said. “I have come here on students’ visa. According to its rules, whatever I do apart from studying is a violation of the visa. So, I cannot take part in such protests.” After a long discussion that continued from morning till afternoon, Jakob was asked to leave India as early as possible. “I offered an immediate apology but the officials did not consider it,” he said.
He further alleged the discussions were not transparent and he wasn’t even told the names of the interrogating officials. “There was a leaflet on the table. I expected them to give it to me. But, when asked, they refused and asked me to leave. I did not even know the name of the immigration officials who spoke to me,” he claimed. He said he was also disappointed by the approach of the immigration officials.