Journalist’s Account of Being Pushed Out of India


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A senior journalist with Australia’s national broadcaster, Avani Dias, claims she was effectively pushed out of India due to her reporting on Sikh separatism that angered the Indian government. She accused the authorities of hindering her from attending events, attempting to have her reporting removed, and delaying the renewal of her visa.

Visa Controversy and Departure

Dias, the South Asia correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, mentioned that Indian officials informed her that her resident journalist visa extension application would not be approved because a television segment she produced on allegations of India’s involvement in the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada had “crossed the line.” Despite intense lobbying by the Australian government, Dias was granted a temporary visa extension just a day before she was set to leave India. However, she decided to leave the country due to the challenges she faced in carrying out her journalistic duties.

According to Dias, she encountered difficulties accessing public events organized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, making it increasingly challenging to perform her job effectively in India.

The Indian government refuted Dias’ claims, stating that high-ranking officials had assured her that her visa renewal would be processed.

Her departure coincided with a broader crackdown on freedom of speech in India and an increase in raids on journalists covering sensitive subjects.

In March, Dias produced a television documentary addressing the accusations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that individuals linked to the Indian government were responsible for the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist, on Canadian territory. The documentary shed light on the Khalistan movement, which advocates for the creation of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan within the Indian state of Punjab.

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