Published On: Sun, Jan 19th, 2020

German student, kicked out of India for participating in citizenship law protest, claims he was told not to return

A German exchange student who was shown the door by Indian immigration authorities after he went viral for joining a protest against the citizenship bill in December has claimed he was discouraged from coming back.

Jakob Lindenthal, a German student from Dresden, has said he was advised by the Indian embassy in Germany against traveling back to India on his student visa, the Sunday Express reported, citing the student himself.

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Lindenthal said that his visa would not expire until June 27, telling the outlet he was eager to come back and resume his studies on Indian soil. Lindenthal shot to fame on the back of the mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Chennai in December, when he was photographed carrying signs that read “No democracy without dissent,” and “1933-1945: We have been there.”

At the time, Lindenthal was already living in India for five months, having joined the physics department of IIT-Madras as part of an exchange program with Technical Unversity-Dresden (TUD) in late July.

His was supposed to take two semesters in India and return to Germany in May until his stay was cut short.

Critics of the amended citizenship law, which makes it easier for members of six persecuted religious groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to receive Indian citizenship, argue that the legislation discriminates against Muslims. The Indian government has rejected the criticism, with PM Narendra Modi saying that the law is not discriminatory as it is aimed at giving citizenship as opposed to denying it. The Indian leader also argued the law was humanitarian in nature and aligned with the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi.

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