German student who took part in India protests asked to leave

A German student on an exchange programme to India has been asked to leave after participating in protests against the country’s controversial citizenship law, officials and news reports said Tuesday.

“Jakob Lindenthal left last night after a conversation with immigration officials,” Mahesh Panchagnula, dean of international studies at the Chennai-based Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), said.

“This is after he featured in Chennai newspapers and social media holding up posters at a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. I do not know what exactly was said in the conversation with the officials,” Panchagnula said.

Lindenthal, a student of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, was on a two-semester exchange programme at IIT and he still had one semester remaining, Panchagnula said.

Lindenthal was quoted by local media as saying that he did not know that the protests he participated in were illegal or that he had violated conditions of student visa rules.

Pictures in the newspapers and social media showed him holding up a posters that said: “1933-1945, We have been there” and “Democracy without Dissent.”

“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,” Lindenthal was quoted as saying by Deccan Herald newspaper.

Immigration officers in Chennai asked Lindenthal to leave as he violated his visa conditions, Deccan Herald reported citing sources.

“The links he was drawing in his posters to Nazi Germany and what is happening here could have been the reason for asking him to go,” a fellow student in IIT who did not want to be named said.

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