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German Student at IIT Madras Asked to Leave or Face Deportation After Participating in Anti-CAA Protest

Jacob Lindenthal said immigration officials in Chennai informed him that his taking part in protest was in violation of visa rules and asked him leave the country.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:December 24, 2019, 5:54 PM IST
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German Student at IIT Madras Asked to Leave or Face Deportation After Participating in Anti-CAA Protest
Jacob Lindenthal of IIT Madras took part in an anti-CAA protest in Chennai. (News18)

Chennai: Jacob Lindenthal, a postgraduate student of physics at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT Madras), left for Amsterdam on Monday after his participation in an anti-Citizenship Act (CAA) protest last week landed him in trouble with the immigration department.

Officers in Chennai informed him that his participation was in violation of visa rules. Lindenthal, who was here on an exchange programme, was attached to the Physics Department of the institute.

“There were apparently administration issues with my visa. After ruling these out, I was extensively questioned by the immigration officer about my political opinions. Then I was informed about the decision (asking me to leave),” he told News18.

Lindenthal left for the Dutch capital on Monday night as the immigration department asked him to leave India by midnight or face deportation, he said.

"I was in Bengaluru this weekend. My coordinator told me today (Monday) that I should go to the immigration office. I went there and was told that I have to leave the country. This happened at 2pm today and I had to leave IIT Madras campus at 3pm. I have to consult my lawyers and decide my next course of action,” he said.

When asked about his participation in the rallies so far, he said, “I just accompanied my friends. I didn't raise any opinion or opposition. Since Section 144 was not imposed, I just went with friends to Chepauk and Valluvar Kottam.”

However, Lindenthal added that when he was interviewed by mediapersons during the demonstrations, his statements were based on the Indian Constitution. Reply to queries by e-mail is awaited from IIT Madras.

Holding a placard that had an indirect reference to the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany between 1933-1945 during the Hitler regime, he had told co-participants at a protest here last week that small measures against Jews had not attracted much attention initially. Such measures eventually led to their mass killings, he had said.

The placard read "1933-1945 We have been there." He had also held another one which read, "No democracy without dissent."

Lindenthal, who had also taken part in a protest at the institute's Gajendra Circle against the amendment to the Citizenship Act, was a student of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.

Pursuing his Masters degree, he came to India in July this year and his programme was to end next year at IIT Madras.

An IIT student body, Chinta Bar, said he was asked to leave the country by the immigration department due to his participation in the anti-CAA protests.

Immigration authorities were unavailable for comments.

In a tweet, Jakob said: "I will be alright. The best thing to do now: Change the world. A white guy evicted from India may get more media coverage, but this happens every day for even flimsier reasons and some people have nobody to call and nowhere to go."

(With inputs from PTI)

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