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Amartya Sen voices concern over India's expulsion of Bangladeshi student

  • Published at 07:37 pm March 1st, 2020
Students and activists of All Bengal Anti-Communal Students Struggle Committee hold placards and shout slogans to protest against the new citizenship law and the recent violence occurring in the capital city of Delhi on February 28, 2020 AFP

Now a Polish student also facing deportation over India’s controversial citizenship law

Nobel laureate Indian economist Amartya Sen on Saturday voiced concerns over Indian's deportation of a Bangladeshi student.

Sen, while delivering a lecture at Santiniketan in West Bengal, wondered whether there was a “strong enough logic” to serve marching orders on Afsara Anika Meem.

Meem, a Bangladeshi student studying at Visva-Bharati, a public university located in Santiniketan, West Bengal, asked to leave India for participating in “anti-government activities,” Indian media reported on Thursday.

“From what I have read in the newspapers, her main fault is she had uploaded some protest rally images on the Internet. It is difficult to assess whether it is a strong enough logic to ask her to leave the country for this act,” Sen said in response to a question on what he felt about the incident.

“I don’t want to comment on this issue as I do not have the habit of passing judgement on issues about which I have at most got three-and-a-half minutes to read in newspapers. Had I known more about the incident, I would surely have had an opinion on it,” the prominent economist said.

“From whatever I have come to know so far, I have not come across the reason for which she is being asked to leave. I am not saying there is no such reason; I am eager to know,” Sen added.

The university has been on the boil since Wednesday after the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) of the ministry of home affairs asked Meem to leave India in 15 days.

Several teachers and students have supported Meem and pledged legal and other support to her. A teacher at the university and a leader of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) said two "leading" lawyers of the high court have agreed to take up the case of the student, who has been subjected to "gross injustice."

Third foreign student faces deportation

Meanwhile, a Polish student at Jadavpur University in Kolkata has been asked to leave India for being part of anti-CAA rally. He is the third foreign student facing deportation over India’s controversial citizenship law since December.

Kamil Siedcynski, a student of comparative literature, has been asked to leave India in a notice sent by the FRRO.

Kamil did not share the contents of the notice but some students and teachers at the university said they assumed that his expulsion was due to his presence at a rally organized in Kolkata by intellectuals, artists and students against the CAA in December last year.

Kamil is yet to sit for the final semester of his Masters degree. Having studied Bengali literature at Visva-Bharati, earlier, Kamil can speak the language fluently and has translated Polish works into Bengali.

Jadavpur University teachers, who did not wish to be named, told Hindustan Times that Kamil went to the rally organized at Ramlila Maidan with his friends on December 19.

Last year, a 24-year-old German exchange student pursuing a Masters degree in physics, was ordered to leave after he took part in protests against the CAA in Chennai. 

The CAA was passed in December to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who had entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015.