TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A German student on an exchange program to India has been asked to leave after participating in pro-Muslim protests against the country’s new citizenship law.
“Jakob Lindenthal left last night after a conversation with immigration officials,” said Mahesh Panchagnula, dean of international studies at the Chennai-based Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Al Jazeera reported.
“This is after he featured in Chennai newspapers and social media holding up posters at a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. I do not know what exactly was said in the conversation with the officials,” Panchagnula said.
Lindenthal, a student of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, was on a two-semester exchange program at the IIT and had one semester remaining, Panchagnula said.
Lindenthal was quoted by local media as saying he did not know that the protests he participated in were illegal or that he had violated the conditions of having a student visa.
Pictures in newspapers and social media showed him holding up a poster that said: “1933-1945: We have been there” and “Democracy without Dissent”.
“The immigration officer asked me whether I participated in protests as part of discussion, and when I admitted to the fact, she asked me to leave the room. Within a few minutes, I was asked to leave the country,” Lindenthal was quoted as saying by the Deccan Herald newspaper.
Immigration officers in Chennai asked Lindenthal to leave because he violated his visa conditions, the Deccan Herald reported, citing sources.
“The links he was drawing in his posters to Nazi Germany and what is happening here could have been the reason for asking him to go,” said a fellow student at IIT-Chennai, who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters across India continue to demonstrate against the new law in the capital New Delhi and other places.
Sargam Sharma, who was at New Delhi’s iconic Jantar Mantar, the site of frequent protests, slammed the government’s decision to send Lindenthal back.
“The fact that an international student from Germany is making these associations with his own experiences of having lived in a country that faced fascism shows how inconsiderate this government is,” she told Al Jazeera.
In January, India’s Supreme Court will hear nearly 60 petitions filed by opposition parties, Muslim groups and activists challenging the constitutional validity of the new law.