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Saturday, April 13 2024

London Prof. Nitasha Kaul Barred from Karnataka Govt Event

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Professor Nitasha Kaul of the University of Westminster was reportedly detained at the Bengaluru International Airport on Friday and sent back to London after the Centre refused her request to participate in an event arranged by the Congress government in Karnataka.

Kaul had received an invitation to attend the “Constitution and National Unity Convention,” a two-day conference that was scheduled for Bengaluru on February 24 and 25. The state’s Social Welfare Department was in charge of organizing the event.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Kaul said, “I was given no reason by immigration except ‘we cannot do anything, orders from Delhi’… I received no notice or info in advance from Delhi that I would not be allowed to enter.”

Who is Nitasha Kaul?

Political science, international relations, and critical interdisciplinary studies are taught by Nitasha Kaul at the University of Westminster in London, United Kingdom.

At the University’s School of Social Sciences, she also serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD). At the university, she has also held the positions of Reader and Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations.

As per Kaul’s post on X, she was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, and her origins are from a downtown mohalla in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Kaul completed her Masters of Sciences and PhD at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom after pursuing her Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours at the University of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce.

As a writer, she was selected for the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize Shortlist Award from five Asian novels, including her debut book “Residue.”

Kaul has received funding and honors for her research; two of the most recent are the “Small Seed Funding” from the Westminster-Smithsonian Partnership Development Fund (2023–2024) and the “Research and Knowledge Exchange Award” given by the University of Westminster’s School of Social Sciences in January 2022.

She also served as a Visiting Research Fellow at CSD between 2007 and 2015, as a Fellow at the Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) from February to May 2011, as an Honorary Fellow with the Department of Politics at the University of Bristol (UOB), UK in November 2008.

What did Nitasha Kaul say about the denial?

After a 12-hour flight from London to Bengaluru, Nitasha Kaul took to X to share her experience of spending several hours at immigration, where she was shuttled and given no information about the procedure. Additionally, she was kept in a holding cell under constant video surveillance for roughly “24 hours with restricted movement, a small area to lie down, and no easy access to food and water.”

“I am a globally respected academic & public intellectual, passionate about liberal democratic values. I care for gender equity, challenging misogyny, sustainability, civil & political liberties, rule of law. I am not anti-Indian, I am anti-authoritarian & pro-democracy,” Kaul wrote on X.

She added, “Decades of my work speaks for me. The officials informally made references to my criticism of RSS, a far-right Hindu nationalist paramilitary from years ago. I have travelled to India numerous times since. I was invited by a state govt, but refused entry by the central govt. Rightwing #HindutvaTrolls have for years threatened me w death, rape, ban etc. In the past, authorities have sent police to my elderly ailing mother’s home to intimidate, even though I live in UK & my work has no connexion to her, a pious temple-going dezhor-wearing retired Hindi teacher & my sole surviving parent.”

At the end of a series of posts on X, she wrote, “Unless this is fixed, I join the ranks of Tibetan exiles and Ukrainian exiles, and others throughout history who have faced the arbitrary exercise of brute unreasoning power.”

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