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Norwegian tourist asked to leave India for taking part in Kochi anti-CAA protest

Janne-Mette Johannson, 74, a former nurse from Norway who reached India on a tourist visa in October, was questioned at the FRRO centre near the Cochin International Airport about her participation in a “people’s long march” against CAA Monday.

Written by Vishnu Varma | Kochi | December 28, 2019 4:32:16 am
Norwegian tourist sent back after protesting against CAA, citizenship amendment act protest, NRC protest, police violence, CAA violence, india news, indian express news Janne-Mette Johansson in Kochi, Friday. (Photo: Reuters)

A Norwegian tourist was ordered to leave the country Friday by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Kochi with officials saying that she “violated visa rules” by participating in a protest march in the city against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Janne-Mette Johannson, 74, a former nurse from Norway who reached India on a tourist visa in October, was questioned at the FRRO centre near the Cochin International Airport about her participation in a “people’s long march” against CAA Monday.

She had also posted pictures from the protest on her Facebook account alongwith a note that the protesters were “singing and chanting with their fists up”. “No riots, just people determined, lifting up their voices, saying what has to be said,” she wrote.

The latest action comes days after a German student at IIT-Madras was asked to leave India for attending a protest against the new citizenship law.

On Friday morning, Kochi FRRO Anoop Krishnan confirmed Johannson’s deportation. “She has been intimated in person to leave the country. She will be leaving tonight,” he said.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Johannson wrote that officials from the Bureau of Immigration turned up at the hotel in Fort Kochi where she was staying early morning Friday and informed her about her immediate deportation.

“I was told to leave the country at once, or legal actions would be taken. I asked for an explanation and also something in writing. I was told that I would not get anything in writing. The officer from the Bureau is not leaving me before he can see that I have a flight ticket,” the post read.

One of Johannson’s friends is said to have arranged a flight out of Kochi late Friday night to Dubai, from where she would continue her trip to Sweden, where she is based.

When contacted on phone, Johannson did not respond to questions but got emotional and started sobbing. Throughout Friday, police officers were stationed outside the hotel where she was staying.

According to an immigration officer, Johannson has made at least five trips to India since 2014 and has visited Kerala twice. This time, she decided to spend Christmas in Kochi and attend the popular Cochin Carnival after her plans to visit Assam were cancelled as a result of the protests.

During her current trip, she has been documenting her travel on Facebook. On December 16, she quoted Gregory Stanton, an expert on genocide studies: “Nationalism taken to its extreme is fascism and Nazism. Now every Muslim, privileged or poor, worried.”

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