By Vijayta Lalwani

London: On a cold November morning in 2022, writer and activist Amrit Wilson picked up a letter that arrived at the doorstep of her home in London.

The letter, sent by the high commission of India in London, accused the 82-year-old of involvement in “multiple anti-India activities” and engaged in “detrimental propaganda” against the Indian government, which were “inimical to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India”.

The notice did not provide instances or supply proof of such involvement to support the allegations, only giving Wilson 15 days to explain why her overseas citizen of India (OCI) status, granted to her in 2017, should not be cancelled.

The OCI was created in 2005 under the Citizenship Act, 1955, to allow foreign citizens of Indian-origin or foreigners married to Indian citizens to enter India without a visa, reside, work and hold property, among other benefits.

Born in Kolkata, Wilson came to London in 1961 as a 21-year-old PhD student and stayed on, becoming an active voice on issues of racism and labour rights pertaining to South Asian women.

She acquired British citizenship in 2009 and made yearly visits to her home in Delhi and to the Berhampore Girls’ College in Murshidabad, West Bengal, founded by her parents in 1946.

At least two others who spoke to Article 14 narrated how their OCI status had been cancelled, effectively ending their ability to return to their country of origin. We can also confirm that three people of Indian origin were blacklisted for tweets against Hindu nationalism and voicing support for protests by farmers between 2020 and 2021.

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