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

British Sitar Player in Delhi Fears Deportation Despite Court Relief

Stephen Kaye

A British Sitar player married to an Indian woman won reprieve from the Delhi High Court in March 2018 when it allowed him to stay in India despite the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) seeking his deportation. But his struggle is still not over, he posted on the social media on May 1. Felix Stefan Kaye seeks an X-visa or Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card, which the Ministry of Home Affairs and the FRRO have not taken a decision on yet.

Kaye came to India in 2006 and fell in love with singer Ritika Singh. The couple got married in 2009 and have a three-month-old daughter. Kaye, a founding member of the band The Ska Vengers, was arrested in 2011 and jailed for three weeks for overstaying his visa.

“Delhi High Court have twice informed the State that they should issue the requisite visa for me to remain in the country, the State have other ideas. No battle is won as such!,” he wrote on Facebook on May 1, 2018.

Kaye was a sitar player even before he came to India and currently performs with bands, The Jass B’stards, Emperor Minge as well as The Ska Vengers. He has also performed at Jaipur Literature Festival, NH-7 Weekenders and many other festivals, according to the Hindustan Times.

In 2011, he was convicted and sent to Tihar jail, and after release, he returned to perform for the inmates. In 2016, he was convicted by a trial court to six months in jail but he appealed and his sentence was commuted to the period undergone in jail already. But he was still directed to leave the country. Kaye appealed against his deportation and was given a single-stay permit in November 2017, but it only allowed him to remain in India till March 31, 2018. He appealed to the high court again, which asked the FRRO to consider Kaye’s application for grant of OCI status, while directing it not to take any coercive measures against him like deportation. Meanwhile, Kaye and his family remain under stress.

“They do not understand, taking her (his wife) with me to UK is also not a solution. This (India) is my home, where my wife and child stay. There is no intention of leaving my family behind… I also do not subscribe to the view that one is always a subject of the country in which they were born, whatever passport they may have. One’s home is the place one feels most at home. For me, it is India,” Kaye told the Indian Express.

He wants to apply for the OCI card and is ready to return to the United Kingdom for that but fears that he won’t be allowed to return to India.

The court said that Kaye will be given 30 days to take recourse to remedy in accordance with law if the FRRO order is against him.