Updated: July 10, 2021 3:40:50 pm
YouTuber Karl Edward Rice, who goes by the name Karl Rock, alleged that the Indian government has blacklisted him and blocked his entry to the country. His wife, an Indian national who lives in the capital, has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the move.
Originally from New Zealand, Karl is a YouTuber who shares tips for foreigners travelling in India. He got married in 2019 and stayed with his wife and her family in Delhi’s Pitampura.
Last year, Karl was praised by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for donating plasma at a government plasma bank.
On Friday, he uploaded a YouTube video titled ‘Why I haven’t seen my wife in 269 days’, where he claimed he has been separated from his wife and in-laws because he was blacklisted by the Indian government.
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Union Home Ministry officials said the New Zealand national has been restricted from entering India till next year for violating terms and conditions of his visa. “He was on a tourist visa but engaging in business activities,” an official said.
The petition filed in court states that Karl had strictly been abiding by the laws of the country and conditions of visa, and that there has not been a single complaint against him. After he got married, he was issued an X-2 visa, meant for spouses and children of Indian nationals, which was valid till 2024. One of the conditions of the visa was that he had to exit India every 180 days or intimate the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) concerned.
His last entry into India was in November 2019. He had enrolled at Landour School of Languages in Mussoorie to learn Hindi but was stranded due to the nationwide lockdown in March 2020.
As the 180-day mark was approaching, he had tried to intimate the FRRO for visa extension. The application was rejected and he was issued an exit permit instead.
While he was exiting India to travel to Dubai and Pakistan in October 2020, his visa was cancelled at the Delhi Airport. In Dubai, he applied for a new visa and was then called to the Indian High Commission and informed that he had been blacklisted.
The petition states that despite complying with all conditions, his visa was cancelled while he was exiting Delhi.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone from New Zealand, Karl said, “I was not given a reason why I had been blacklisted. I was told to reach out to the Ministry of Home Affairs. When my wife tried to, she was ignored and did not get any help.”
Since then, he said he and his family have been running from pillar to post to resolve the issue. During the second Covid wave, his wife and in-laws had contracted the virus and he was worried for them but could not be there.
Many on social media have speculated that the reason for the blacklisting was because he had visited an anti-CAA protest site and documented it. This video was later deleted. On this, Karl said, “My wife and I went and filmed our experience. But whether that is the reason for the blacklisting or not, we do not know. We’ve filed the writ petition to find out the reasons.”
Karl has 1.79 million subscribers. In one of his videos, he and his wife speak about corruption in Indian politics. However, Karl said he does not want to speculate why he might have been blacklisted.
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