Foreigners are being forced out for voicing their opinions

Janne-Mette Johansson, a Norwegian tourist, has been asked to leave the country for taking part in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which was passed in the parliament barely a fortnight ago.

She is not alone though. A German exchange student at IIT Madras, Jakob Lindenthal, was also forced out of the country for taking part in a similar protest.

In both these instances, the concerned authorities had cited the alleged violation of visa rules as the prime reason for asking both Jakob and Janne-Merte to either pack their bags or face deportation.

Are we so thin-skinned?

Words fail to express the rage and bewilderment on what has just happened with these two tourists. Can there be any limits to our insanity or paranoia? Does holding a placard in a peaceful protest march or posting about it on your social media account warrant punishment as stringent as deportation? Where is our sense of proportion when we need it the most?

I don’t really know if the immigration authorities were acting on their own volition or following orders from their superiors but couldn’t they have let off these two people with a warning or a gentle reminder instead of literally throwing them out.

The people who took this decision to deport them might not realize the damage that it does to our credibility abroad. We are basically saying that anyone who comes to our country has to agree with whatever our government does and even the slightest hint of dissent from their side is a good enough reason to be thrown out of India. And we are supposed to be the largest democracy in the world.

Logic dies a slow death

We call our country a ‘Vishwaguru’ (Masters of the world) and yet this is how we treat people who come from the other parts of the same ‘Vishwa’ (World).

I am still trying to wrap around my head over what has happened in the past few days but nothing about this makes any sense to me. They were not posing any danger or causing even the slightest bit of trouble for anyone around them. They were not indulging in any anti-social activities. They were not taking law in their own hands. They were taking part in those protests out of their own free will. Then what the hell?

It was just a protest

Is our government so spooked by these protests against CAA (which is in direct violation of the Constitution according to several legal and political experts) that every protester is their enemy that needs to be severely dealt with?

What if they were taking part in pro-CAA protests? What would have been the reaction of our authorities then? I ask this question because those who have come out on the streets to support this act seem to get away with the most reprehensible form of bigotry and violence and no one in the government, administration or police bats an eyelid when they incite violence through their slogans.

You can throw the rulebook about visa regulations in my face and spend all day trying to convince me that those who come to our country should not get involved in our internal matters. But none of that justifies deporting anyone who raises their voice against something that they do not agree with.

You cannot take that right away from anyone by hanging the sword of deportation over their heads.

Image Source: Google Images

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