A German exchange student in the Master's course with the Department of Physics at IIT Madras was made to return to his country by the immigration department on Monday, December 23, for participating in protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The 24-year-old Jakob Lindenthal was asked to leave the country "immediately" by the immigration department, who insisted that he had violated his visa rules by taking part in the protests.
Jakob reportedly received "oral directions" to leave India when the immigration department called him over for a meeting on his residence permit but instead asked him about his views on CAA.
A friend of Jakob's said he was called by his co-ordinator at IIT and told that there was an issue with his residence permit. "Later, he told us that an officer spoke to him about the permit and then casually asked what his opinion was on the anti-CAA protest. When Jakob made his opposition clear, the officer told him that he disagreed. Jakob was asked to wait outside. He was called back and told to leave India immediately," the friend was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
During the protests in Chennai against CAA, Jakob was pictured holding a poster that said: "1933 to 1945; We Have Been There" (a reference to the Nazi regime in Germany).
In the video above, he can also be heard explaining why he took part in the anti-CAA protests. He said he is showing solidarity because "human rights are an issue everywhere".
Moments before he left India, Jakob told the Indian Express that the immigration officials cited some administrative issues related to his residential permit in India. "After I resolved their queries and it was clear that there were no issues regarding my residential permit, they started asking me about my politics and hobbies. It was an extensive casual conversation. They asked about CAA and my participation in anti-CAA protests."
"We discussed the demonstration culture. There were three officers including one who asked me all questions. All of them were unnamed. Towards the end of the conversation, they said I may have to leave the country immediately for violating my student visa rules. When I asked for a written letter, they returned my passport and said that I may leave. They said I will get the written letter but I did not receive one. Soon, I rushed back to IIT campus, booked my ticket, packed everything and left for the airport," he added.