Imagine a scenario where an Indian goes to another country as a mere student for an exchange program, on a temporary visa. In that country, the Indian indulges in protests against a purely domestic and sovereign policy decision that the government of that nation has taken. He further derides their law-keeping agencies and compares the establishment to be running on the lines of Nazi Germany. All this, while the student has no stake in that country and no business to interfere in the decisions taken there. What would the authorities of that country do? Cancel his Visa, obviously. Not for his political views, but for he violated the terms and conditions of his visa.
Such a stunt was pulled out by a German student at IIT Madras named Jakob Lindenthal. An exchange student at the Physics Department of IIT-M, Jakob was seen taking an active part in the orchestrated protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Pictures of Lindenthal went viral as he was seen standing out from the Indian crowd, carrying catchy posters which read: “1933-1945: WE HAVE BEEN THERE” and “UNIFORMED CRIMINAL=CRIMINAL”. The former was in reference to Nazi Germany, and how India, in his unwanted opinion, is turning into a similar nation. The latter compared policemen to criminals, with the only difference being that policemen had uniforms.
As a result, on Monday, December 23rd, Jakob was asked to leave by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office. Jakob was asked to book his tickets immediately and given time to go to his hostel and collect his belongings. Speaking to India Today, a co-protester of his said: “What we heard is that officials from the immigration department got in touch with him and asked him to leave because as per his visa he wasn’t allowed to take part in political protests.”
It is to be noted that any foreign individual, residing in India on a temporary visa cannot participate in any political activities or protests, especially when the subject is of such domestic nature. A detraction from the same can attract immediate deportation and even an enquiry. A TOI report quoted some officials in the Immigration Department saying the same. That the student has merely been asked to leave the country and has not been forcefully deported or charged in itself speaks volumes as to how lenient the authorities have been.
It must also be mentioned that the student was not sent back due to a particular opinion which he had about the CAA, rather, because he grossly flouted the norms under which he was granted the Indian visa.