Jakob Lindenthal, a German student pursuing his post-graduation at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) under an exchange programme, has been asked to leave the country after it was found he took part in protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Pursuing M. Sc (Physics) at IIT-M since July 2019, Lindenthal is a student of the Technical University of Dresden and took part in protests against CAA inside the campus and in Valluvar Kottam last week. Pictures of him holding placards at the protests were widely shared on social media.
“I did not know that the protests I participated in were illegal and did not have required permission. Nobody told me about that. It is true that I participated in protests against CAA, but I never knew they did not have required permission,” Lindenthal told DH from New Delhi airport.
The dean of the International Relations Department in IIT-M told Lindenthal to appear before the Bureau of Immigrations officials. “The conversation with officers wasn’t pleasant. The immigration officer asked me whether I participated in protests as part of discussion, and when I admitted to the fact, she asked me to leave the room. Within a few minutes, I was asked to leave the country,” he said.
Lindenthal is currently in New Delhi waiting for his connecting flight to his home country. The student boarded an Air India flight from Chennai to New Delhi on Monday night, which took off after a four-hour delay leading to him missing the connecting flight. Lindenthal is expected to fly out of India by Tuesday night.
Sources said Lindenthal was asked to leave the country since he had violated the visa conditions. The student, who returned from Bengaluru on Monday morning after attending a tournament, was summoned to the Bureau of Immigration office.
He alleged that the immigration officer had grilled him intensively about his political opinion and wasn’t willing to consider his apology. “I didn’t have any option. So, I decided to leave Chennai,” he said.