BJP is ‘weaponising’ passports and imposing ‘illegal’ travel bans to ‘harass’ its critics: Mehbooba Mufti

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Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday accused the BJP of “weaponising” passports and imposing “illegal” travel bans to “harass and punish” its critics.

Mufti’s charge came a day after Nitasha Kaul, a professor of Indian origin at the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom, claimed that she was denied entry when she landed at the Bengaluru airport to attend an event for which she was invited by the Karnataka government and was then deported.

“BJP is brazenly weaponising passports, revoking OCI cards & imposing illegal travel bans to harass & punish its critics. Aatish Taseer, Ashok Swain & now Nitasha Kaul. Stand in solidarity with Nitasha for the harrowing experience she was put through only because she doesnt agree with their hateful divisive ideology,” Mufti said on X.

Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit academic based in London, in a series of posts on X claimed that she was given no reason by the immigration officials at the Bengaluru airport and received no notice or information in advance from the Indian government that she would not be allowed to enter the country.

Sweden-based Professor Ashok Swain’s Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card was cancelled by the Central government last year.

Swain, presently serving as professor and head of department at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, has been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

Aatish Taseer, a writer and son of journalist Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani politician and businessman Salmaan Taseer, is a UK citizen. He had held a Person of Indian Origin card until 2015 when the government merged it with the OCI card scheme.

However, Taseer’s OCI status was revoked for not complying with “very basic requirements” and concealing information in 2019.

It was alleged that the government’s move came after Taseer had authored the Time Magazine cover story, published after the national election that year, which called Prime Minister Modi “India’s Divider In Chief” and asked whether India can “endure five more years of his government”.

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