British academic sent back from airport, sparks row

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jun 23, 2014 23:33 IST

A British academic who was invited to attend a conference in India and travelled there on a valid visa, was turned away at the Hyderabad airport and sent back to London, prompting concern among researchers.

Dr Penny Vera-Sanso, who is based at Birkbeck College, University of London as senior lecturer in development studies and social anthropology, was stopped on June 8 from entering India, where she had to attend the International Federation of Aging conference scheduled from June 10 to 13.

Vera-Sanso was refused entry by immigration officials without explanation, a spokesperson of the college said on Monday. She is the principal investigator for research projects on poverty and ageing in India.

Birkbeck College spokesperson said: “Dr Vera-Sanso, a respected researcher who has undertaken research in India since 1990, has met with an official at the Indian High Commission in London since her return but the reason for the decision is not clear at this point,” adding that she had valid documents for the trip.

The college was concerned that a member of its community had been “excluded” from India. “Today’s academics work in an increasingly global environment and their contribution to production of knowledge is of benefit to all,” the spokesperson added.

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