Bangladeshi Student at Visva Bharati University Ordered to Leave India for 'Anti-Govt Activities'

Kolkata: When Afsara Anika Meem, a Bangladeshi national studying Bachelor in Design (B.Des) at Visva Bharati University, uploaded few anti-citizenship posters to her social media, she never imagined it would lead to a notice to leave India for “engaging in anti-government activities”.

Meem hails from Kustia district in Bangladesh and was admitted to the programme in 2018.

The notice received on February 25 left her completely shaken. Initially, Meem did not share the matter with anyone. After she later informed a few close friends, they advised her to contact lawyer and former CPI (M) Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee and advocate Shamim Ahmed.

Despite repeated attempts, Meem was not available for comments.

The letter dated February 14 said Meem holds a Bangladeshi passport and is in India on a student visa at the Visva Bharati University in West Bengal “and whereas she is found to have engaged in anti-government activities”.

The letter adds this led to a violation of her visa, following which she has been ordered to leave the country within 15 days or be prosecuted under the Foreigners Act, 1946.

But the letter did not mention any specify charges against her that constitute “anti-India activities’”

Meem has shared the letter with her lawyer Shamim Ahmed and has professed innocence. Ahmed told News18 that Meem was scheduled to meet him on Thursday evening.

“She spoke to me around 2.30pm, but after that her mobile is unreachable,” he said. “What came as a surprise to me is there are no specific charges mentioned in the letter against her. We are planning to challenge this order in the Calcutta High Court.”

Preliminary inquiry revealed that Meem had uploaded a few posts on social media when BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta, vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty and a few BJP leaders were confined at the Visva Bharati University by agitating Left Student Unions, who were protesting the decision to invite the lawmaker to deliver a lecture on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last month.

“It is because of her social media posts when Dasgupta visited the campus on January 8 that she got this MHA notice to leave India. We condemn this act of the central government,” said a faculty member.