Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

American Woman Deported Due to Her ‘Political’ Activities, Govt Tells Delhi High Court

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A Delhi High Court bench hearing the plea of American national Kasha Elizabeth Vande over her deportation was told by the Indian government that the entrepreneur was deported and blacklisted as her activities in India had political overtones, PTI reported. The government also said that she made false assertions in her business visa application.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who presided over the matter, was told on May 31 that the American businesswoman was carrying out charity work and NGO activities, which comes under a different category of visas. The government told the court that her activities had political overtones, and cited the instance of an art exhibition against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant that was organized in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

The government pointed out that an Indian citizen can carry out such an activity but a foreigner visiting the country on a business visa cannot. Vande was deported on Jan. 5 where she arrived via a Kuwait Airlines flight, right after she moved a plea challenging her detention at Chennai airport when she had come back from the United States.

Vande’s plea challenged her deportation and denial of entry to India despite a valid business visa and the fact that she was living in India for over 10 years. The 48-year-old Franco-American woman first came to India in 1992 when her husband, who was French, got a teaching job in Puducherry.

Her petition also said that she was running an organization that promoted tourism in Puducherry with the support and permission of the government. Her cafe-boutique, Kasha ki Asha, is run by women and sold products made by women.

Vande’s lawyer, Shoumendu Mukherjee, pointed out that the art exhibition against the Kudankulam nuclear plant was organized in 2013, while the government renewed her business visa last year for another 10 years. He then sought interim orders allowing Vande to return to India as she organizes a popular photo exhibition, PondyPHOTO, that will be held this year in Puducherry. The event has been postponed thrice already due to her absence, the court was told.

The PondyPHOTO exhibition involves participation from various artists and sponsors as well as partnership by the Puducherry government. As it is popular round the world, it will positively impact tourism and economy of the union territory, the lawyer told the court.

The court declined to pass any interim directions, saying the matter required longer hearing.