Denying entry to Prof Nitasha Kaul is trampling of State’s rights says Karnataka minister

BJP criticised Karnataka government for inviting Prof Nitasha Kaul deeming her “terrorist sympathiser who disseminates anti-India propaganda”

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 26, 2024 | 4:58 PMUpdatedFeb 26, 2024 | 4:58 PM

Nitasha Kaul. (X)

A political slugfest erupted between the ruling Congress and the BJP in Karnataka on Monday, 26 February, over an Indian-origin professor being denied entry into India to attend a state government-organised conference on the Constitution in Bengaluru.

Karnataka Ministers alleged the incident shows how the individual rights as well the rights of the state governments are being trampled upon, while the BJP described the professor at the University of Westminster Nitasha Kaul, who is also an Overseas Citizen of India, “a known terrorist sympathiser & one who constantly spews venom & disseminates anti-India propaganda.”

Prof Nitasha Kaul denied all the allegations raised against her.

Kaul has alleged that she was denied entry into India to attend on the invitation of the government of Karnataka the two-day ‘Constitution and National Unity Convention-2024’ on 24 and 25 February.

She said that she was invited by the Congress government in Karnataka to a conference but was denied entry even after having valid documents.

She said she was not informed prior that she was not allowed to enter the country. Kaul questioned how the world’s largest democracy could be threatened by her pen and the word.

Also Read: Indian origin professor Nitasha Kaul denied entry into country

‘Challenge to constitutional India’

Karnataka Social Welfare Minister HC Mahadevappa said on Monday the denial “is a fresh demonstration of how the rights of state governments are being repeatedly trampled”.

“It is a stark reminder of the multiple challenges to the constitutional idea of India. All patriotic Indians must reflect on these threats and unite to reclaim our Constitution,” he said.

It is the right of the Karnataka Government to both organise a convention on the Constitution and to host experts who can meaningfully contribute to how the state’s development and national interest can be furthered. “Our rights (and hence the federal principles enshrined in our Constitution) were once again undermined by the Government of India,” the Minister said.

“It cannot be selectively weaponised to circumscribe the rights of Indians (including diaspora Indians who are equal partners in the nation’s development). If we claim to be the Mother of Democracy, we need to also steadfastly adhere to all those values underpinning our democracy,” Mahadevappa said.

Also Read: It is people’s responsibility to protect Constitution, says Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

BJP slams Karnataka govt

BJP state president BY Vijayendra condemned the Karnataka government for inviting her.

“Highly Disgusting of the @siddaramaiah govt to whitewash the crimes of ‘TUKDE TUKDE GANG’ by inviting its sympathizer Nitasha Kaul for a talk on ‘Constitution & Unity of India’,” Vijayendra said on X.

“A known terrorist sympathizer & one who constantly spews venom & disseminates anti-India propaganda in connivance with the enemies of the Indian state is accorded a RED carpet welcome by the @INCIndia ruled Karnataka govt is Highly Condemnable & an Unpardonable crime,” the Shikaripura MLA said.

He added that it was equally disgusting that all the top leaders of the Congress party attended the conference.

“What is more worrisome & annoying of the @siddaramaiah govt is its indulgence in unwanted expenditures involving crores of rupees when our state & the farmers are already in distress owing to unprecedented drought & severe water crisis,” Vijayendra said.

Kaul dismisses allegations

Meanwhile, Kaul dismissed all the allegations made by the BJP leaders against her.

“Re all the lies, I am not married to a Pakistani, not Muslim convert, not a pawn of China, not a puppet of West, not a commie, not a jihadi, not Pak sympathiser, not terrorist supporter, not anti-India, not part of a gang,” she wrote on X.

“I am what authoritarians fear — a thinking woman,” she added.

She also urged the people who accused her of being “anti-India” to “think beyond their hate.

“My experience was harrowing, but the humiliation is not mine, it is that of a ridiculous insecure regime. What I have termed “the moral wound of colonialism” in my work is very much on display in so many comments here. Selective resurrections of past macro histories are used to manipulate present sentiment,” Kaul wrote.

“I urge you to think beyond walls of hate against those different from you. And to read and understand what I say and think, before rushing to condemn. It’s hard but it’s possible,” she added.

Also Read: Kashmir is, has been, and will remain part of India: Farooq Abdullah in Karnataka

BJP questioned on democracy

Minister for Large and Medium Industries MB Patil said the incident showed “what type of democracy is there in India, how does the BJP respect the Constitution and the status of the freedom of speech and individual freedom”.

“They (BJP) try to suppress them (liberties). This is not a good thing for our country because in our country Baba Saheb Ambedkar has given a world class Constitution where everyone’s views are respected. There is a freedom to talk,” Patil said.

Shivajinagar Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad wondered if there was any dictatorial system in the country and he alleged, that the individual’s freedom of expression was curbed.

“A state government in a federal system invites an academic who is of Indian origin but she was told by the central government that she cannot enter the country just because she doesn’t subscribe to your ideology. Is this dictatorship in the country today? Is there no freedom of expression or no freedom to participate in a debate on the Constitution?” he sought to know.

(With PTI inputs)