Polish student at Jadavpur University asked to leave India for being part of anti-CAA rally
Kamil Siedcynski, a Polish student at Jadavpur University (JU) in Kolkata, has been asked to leave the country in a notice sent by the Union home ministry.
Kamil avoided the media and did not share the contents of the notice, but some students and teachers at JU said they assumed that his expulsion was due to his presence at a rally organised in the city by intellectuals, artists and students against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December last year.
A student of comparative literature, Kamil, is yet to sit for the final semester of his Masters degree. Having studied Bengali literature at Visva Bharati, a central university, earlier, Kamil can speak the language fluently and has translated Polish works into Bengali.
JU teachers, who did not wish to be named, told HT that Kamil went to the rally organised at Ramlila Maidan with his friends on December 19.
He was served a notice by the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Kolkata about a week ago, said Partha Pratim Roy, general secretary of the JU teachers association.
JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das was away in Delhi. “Till Friday evening, when I left my office, I had not received any official information about this from the student or the FFRO.”
In West Bengal, Kamil is the second student from a foreign country who has been asked to leave India by FRRO.
Afsara Anika Meem, a first-year Bangladeshi undergraduate student at the Visva Bharati fine arts department had also been served a similar notice for engaging in “anti-government” activities earlier this week. She had posted photos of an anti-CAA agitation on her social media page, which she later deactivated.
“Kamil was possibly curious to see the rally. Kamil has never been seen at any agitation on or off campus. Being a foreigner, he drew the attention of some local television channels that covered the rally. Since he speaks Bengali, a journalist even spoke to him and the short footage was aired,” said a JU professor who did not want to be identified.
Teachers said that Kamil was first summoned by the FRRO, but he could not respond as he was visiting Visva Bharati. After returning to the city, he went to the FRRO, where the notice to leave the country was given to him.
“Kamil has appealed to the FRRO to reconsider its decision, saying he was merely an onlooker,” said Partha Pratim Roy, general secretary of the JU teachers association.
Since it is Saturday, the Polish consulate in Kolkata and the FRRO office were both closed and no official could be contacted.
Eminent lawyer and former Kolkata mayor, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said, “This is madness. How can a student from a foreign country be asked to leave just because he wanted to witness a rally. The student has the right to move court and if he wants I will defend him.”
Two other foreign nationals in the country were asked to leave on similar grounds in December. Jakob Lindenthal, a 24-year-old German exchange student pursuing a Masters degree in physics, was ordered to leave after he took part in protests against the CAA in Chennai. Janne Mette-Johannson, a Norwegian woman, was also asked to leave after she participated in an anti-CAA protest in Kerala in December. She had been in India on a tourist visa.
The CAA was passed in December to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who had entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015.