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India deports US journalist for reporting on Kashmir

September 24, 2011

Protests by stone-throwing youths and clashes with government forces have become routine during the summer in Kashmir. -Reuters Photo

NEW DELHI: As the Indian government scurried to deal with a growing outrage about unmarked mass graves unearthed in Kashmir, it deported an American journalist on Friday who was known for his critical reporting of human rights violations in the Himalayan region.

Airport sources said David Barsamian, a radio journalist who has worked closely with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmed and Edward Saeed, was deported on his arrival at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport when he was accused of having violated visa norms during his previous visit to the country.

They alleged that he violated the rules during his visit in 2009-10 by indulging in professional work while holding a tourist visa. He was thereafter put on a watch by the immigration authorities to prevent his entry again.

Mr Barsamian has visited India regularly for more than three decades and speaks fluent Hindi and Urdu. He has reported extensively on the Kashmir resistance against Indian rule in their Himalayan homeland.

He is an accomplished sitar player.

Last November India deported Prof Richard Shapiro, an American academic, on charges of continued “political activism in the state while on a tourist visa”. More recently it has proactively blocked the entry of Indian journalists and human rights workers into Kashmir.

Prof Shapiro’s partner Angana Chatterji is involved with the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir, which was the first whistleblower about the mass graves.

Ms Chatterji, an Indian citizen, was travelling with Prof Shapiro when he was denied entry.