Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed the Centre’s notice asking a Polish student at Jadavpur University to leave India for allegedly participating in a protest rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the city.
The order, passed by Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, stayed Kamil Siedcynski’s deportation till March 18 when the court will pass an order on the student’s petition.
Siedczynski, a final-year Masters’ student in the Department of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, was served a ‘Leave India Notice’ dated February 14 from the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Kolkata. The FRRO falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
In her February 27 response to the FRRO, Siedczynski dismissed the allegations, saying she had no intention to actively participate in the rally organised at the Ram Lila Maidan on December 19 last year.
“I came there driven by sheer curiosity, as everyone in my department (both students and teachers) are actively engaged in different kinds of cultural, artistic, social and political activities. Only in the beginning when a group of students from Jadavpur University started singing, I walked close by them for a few minutes,” she wrote. “Then when they told me to raise slogans and hold posters, I refused and remained detached. Instead I was roaming around on my own, being busy taking pictures, exactly like a few more foreigners whom I met that day.”
“Unfortunately for me, I agreed to give an answer to four seemingly neutral questions asked at one point by an ABP journalist. The questions were: Where do you come from? Are you a student? Where do you study and what is your name? All of them he asked in English,” she further wrote. “After that I left without giving him occasion to ask me more questions. On the basis of this handful of information he somehow managed to write an article which contains four big statements in favour of the protest and criticizing the policy of the government. These words have never been uttered by me and I was not even discussing these issues with anyone during the protest.”
Opposing her plea, the central government told the court that being a student visa holder, a foreigner cannot challenge a law passed by the Indian Parliament.
Recently, Afsara Anika Meem – a Bangladeshi national and a student of Bachelor in Design (B.Des) at Visva Bharati University – got a notice to leave India for “engaging in anti-government activities”.