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Business News/ News / Trends/  'Australian journalist violated visa rules': Officials deny claim of being forced to leave India
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'Australian journalist violated visa rules': Officials deny claim of being forced to leave India

An Australian journalist claimed that she was denied an extension of her visa by the Indian government because her reports ‘crossed a line’.

Avani Dias said in a post on X that she was told that her visa extension request would be denied allegedly because her reporting on the Nijjar killing crossed a line. (Instagram/avanidias) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Avani Dias said in a post on X that she was told that her visa extension request would be denied allegedly because her reporting on the Nijjar killing crossed a line. (Instagram/avanidias) (HT_PRINT)

A government official on Tuesday denied Australian journalist Avani Dias' claim of being compelled to leave India because of her reporting on Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing, saying that she had ‘violated visa rules’. The official dismissed her claims as "mischievous and misleading". 

According to news agency PTI's report citing official sources, Dias was found to have violated visa rules while undertaking her professional pursuits.

Earlier on Tuesday, the South Asia correspondent of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), who left India on April 19, claimed that she was denied an extension of her visa by the Modi government because her reports "crossed a line".

The PTI report quoting the official said despite all this, on Dias' request, she was assured that her visa would be extended for the coverage of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections

The source also told PTI that the journalist's previous visa was valid till April 20.

"The contention of Avani Dias, the South Asia Correspondent of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), that she was not allowed to cover elections and was compelled to leave the country is not correct, misleading and mischievous," PTI reported citing a source.

The PTI report further added that Dias paid the visa fee on April 18 and her visa was extended till June-end the same day.

She, however, chose to leave India on April 20, the PTI report said adding that at the time of her departure “Dias held a valid visa and her extension of visa stood approved".

The PTI sources also dismissed her claims of not being allowed to cover elections as “factually incorrect". 

According to the PTI report citing sources, coverage of election activities outside of booths is permitted to all Journalist Visa holders.

"Authority letters are required only for access to polling booths and counting stations. This, however, cannot be processed while the visa extension is under process," the source told PTI.

"It is pertinent to note that other ABC correspondents -- Meghna Bali and Som Patidar -- have already received their letters," the PTI report quoted an official as saying.

 

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Published: 23 Apr 2024, 09:52 PM IST
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