Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Modi Govt told me my visa extension would be denied, saying my reporting “crossed a line”: ABC journalist Avani Dias

ABC News South Asia bureau chief Avani Dias was told a routine visa extension would be denied by the Indian government, days after it blocked her reporting on YouTube in India.

Dias was informed of the decision via a phone call from an official at the Ministry of External Affairs, who said her most recent Foreign Correspondent episode “crossed a line”, ABC News reported.

“Last week, I had to leave India abruptly. The Modi Government told me my visa extension would be denied, saying my reporting “crossed a line”. After Australian Government intervention, I got a mere two-month extension …less than 24 hours before my flight,” Dias posted on X.

“We were also told my election accreditation would not come through because of an Indian Ministry directive. We left on day one of voting in the national election in what Modi calls “the mother of democracy”,” she said.

The video report which was blocked on YouTube in India, covered the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada last year, which led to a major global dispute after Canada accused Indian government agents of involvement in his murder.

“It felt too difficult to do my job in India. I was struggling to get into public events run by Modi’s party, the government wouldn’t even give me the passes I need to cover the election and the ministry left it all so late, that we were already packed up and ready to go,” Dias said in an episode of her podcast, Looking for Modi.

“It’s by design. The Narendra Modi government has made me feel so uncomfortable that we decided to leave.”

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