A protest rally against the CAA jn Kolkata, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.(AP / Photo used for representational purpose only)
A protest rally against the CAA jn Kolkata, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.(AP / Photo used for representational purpose only)

Polish student at Jadavpur University seeks time after being asked to leave India for ‘anti-govt activities’

Siedcznski remained incommunicable but his friends and teachers at JU said while speaking to HT that he wrote a long letter to FRRO on February 27, requesting relief till August so that he can complete his semester.
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | By Tanmay Chatterjee
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2020 10:50 PM IST

A Polish student from Jadavpur University (JU), asked to leave India after he took part in a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), has sought time to complete his degree.

Kamil Siedcznski is pursuing a masters degree in comparative literature at JU and his final semester is approaching. He has to leave India on or before March 10, according to the notice served to him by the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Kolkata on February 24.

The notice served to Siedcznski was signed by foreigner’s regional registration officer of Kolkata, Karma Tshering Bhutia.

It was written on February 14 but served on February 24 as Siedcznski was visiting Visva Bharati and sought time to respond to the FRRO’s summon.

HT reported the incident on February 29.

Siedcznski remained incommunicable but his friends and teachers at JU said while speaking to HT that he wrote a long letter to FRRO on February 27, requesting relief till August so that he can complete his semester.

He had told the Union home ministry last week that he studied Hindi and Sanskrit at Warsaw University before coming to India in 2016 to study Sanskrit along with Bengali, at Visva Bharati (VB).

Describing his experience in India as fascinating, Siedcznski has told the ministry he was inspired by Rabindranath Tagore and wanted to study in West Bengal despite financial difficulties.

JU professors said he was offered a scholarship.

HT has seen Siedcznski’s letter and the FRRO notice.

The notice does not mention any specific event and only says that Siedcznski has been “found to have engaged in anti-government activities” and has thus “committed visa violation.”

“We only follow orders from the ministry. There is nothing we can do,” an officer at FRRO in Kolkata said on the condition of anonymity.

Pleading his case, Siedcznski told FRRO he accompanied his friends from JU to a rally on January 21 but did not shout any slogan or make comment against any Indian law. He said he was only taking photographs and was misquoted by a section of the local media.

Siedcznski also said that three days before the January 19 rally, he attended a music concert at Park Circus, where a Shaheen Bagh-type agitation is on, as he loves Indian music.

He said that at JU he witnessed an interaction between activists Umar Khalid and Yogendra Yadav and went to a film festival in the city where writer Arundhati Roy spoke against CAA.

The Polish student has argued he was present at all these events as a passive observer and not as a political activist. Many foreigners were present at the film festival, he said.

JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das was out of town and could not be contacted.

“If the government does not listen to his appeal we will move the V-C and request him to make some arrangement so that he can take the final tests from his home in Poland,” said Partha Pratim Roy, general secretary of the JU teachers’ association.

Siedcznski’s friends, who did not want to be identified, said he called up the Polish consulate in Kolkata and embassy in New Delhi and was hoping for some kind of relief. He has been living in India since 2016 on a student visa.

The visa was extended till August 31, 2019, to enable him to complete his degree, the FRRO notice mentioned.

Visva Bharati is a central university of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chancellor. Incidentally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in favour of promoting Sanskrit and India’s ancient culture and heritage.

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