German student protesting against CAA asked to leave India

Updated: Dec 24, 2019, 12:11 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Chennai

Lindenthal had participated in a protest in the campus of IIT Madras, where he was seen holding a placard that said, "1943-1945: We've been there,"€ in a reference to the Nazi regime in Germany

A screengrab of the photo posted by Chinta Bar on their Twitter page
A screengrab of the photo posted by Chinta Bar on their Twitter page

Chennai: A German student pursuing Master's degree in Physics from IIT Madras in an exchange programme was asked to leave the country by the immigration department for his involvement in the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Registry of Citizens in Chennai campus of the institution.

The student, Jakob Lindenthal, was quoted saying by Indian Express while waiting for his flight home at Chennai airport, that he received oral directions from the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

Lindenthal had participated in a protest on the campus of IIT Madras, where he was seen holding a placard that said, "1943-1945: We’ve been there," in a reference to the Nazi regime in Germany. He said that he received an email from the FRRO while in Bangalore for a tournament.

He told the newspaper, "After I reached Chennai this morning, my course coordinator advised me to meet immigration officials immediately. When I reached there, they cited some administrative issues related to my residential permit in India. After I resolved their queries and it was clear that there were no issues regarding my residential permit, they started asking me about my politics and hobbies. It was an extensive casual conversation. They asked about CAA and my participation in anti-CAA protests. We discussed the demonstration culture. There were three officers including one who asked me all questions. All of them were unnamed. Towards the end of the conversation, they said I may have to leave the country immediately for violating my student visa rules. When I asked for a written letter, they returned my passport and said that I may leave. They said I will get the written letter but I did not receive one. Soon, I rushed back to IIT campus, booked my ticket, packed everything and left for the airport."

Lindenthal, was yet to inform his parents about his return, adds, "I received a call from an official in the Dean’s office. She suggested that I may leave tomorrow. Since it is going to be Christmas eve tomorrow, I chose to leave immediately."

Lindenthal, who hails from southern Germany, also adds, "I distanced myself from all such groups, I explained. At one point, the officer, referring to my decision to take part in protests, said I was uninformed, that I should not have attended protests when I didn’t know what I was protesting about. I disagreed. I replied that it was all about basic human rights of people…The conversation was not aggressive, I was moderate in my answers and explained my views."

A students’ organization of the IIT Madras, Chinta Bar, who also organised the protests, released a statement on their Twitter page, expressing their solidarity, "for being part of struggles to protect the rights of people in this country and his concern for humanity."

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