A German exchange student studying at IIT Madras has reportedly been sent back for participating in protests on campus and elsewhere in Chennai against the citizenship law and the police crackdown on students in Delhi.
Jakob Lindenthal, a post-graduate student of physics at the IIT or Indian Institute of Technology, reportedly left for Amsterdam on Monday. He was quoted as telling the Indian Express that he had received oral directions to leave India from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Chennai.
In images from last week, the 24-year-old student was spotted in several protests. In one, he was seen holding a placard that read: "Uniformed Criminals = Criminals". Another placard he held up said: "1933-1945 We have been there". He was reportedly told by officials that his participation in the protests was a violation of his visa terms and he had to leave India immediately.
Jakob is from Dresden in Germany.
It is not clear yet whether it was IIT Madras or the central government that decided to send him away.
IIT Madras students call it a "shame" that such a decision was taken, given the student had a semester to complete. The institute has not responded to two requests from NDTV seeking comments.
Besides activists and students, political leaders have also tweeted their condemnation.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, in a tweet tagging Education Minister RP Nishank, said: This is dismaying. We used to be a proud democracy, an example to the world: thefederal.com/states/south/t... No democracy punishes freedom of expression. I call on @DrRPNishank to instruct @iitmadras to withdraw the expulsion & allow India to hold its head high in the academic world."
Massive protests have swept through the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the first-ever law to make religion a criteria for citizenship. The government says it will help non-Muslims from Muslim-dominated Pakistan, Bangladesh and Aghanistan become Indian citizens if they fled religious persecution in their country and entered India before 2015. Activists, students, opposition parties and other protesters say the law discriminates against Muslims and is against the secular tenets of the constitution.
The protests intensified and spread to various campuses after the police stormed the Jamia Milia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, beat students and arrested many.