Australian journalist forced to leave India, says Centre refused to extend visa citing reportage

Avani Dias said she had to leave India on April 19 after the government objected to her reporting on the assassination of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Avani Dias is the South Asia Bureau Chief for ABC News, Australia.
Avani Dias is the South Asia Bureau Chief for ABC News, Australia.Photo | X @AvaniDias

NEW DELHI: An Australian journalist on Tuesday claimed that she was forced to leave India after the government refused to extend her work visa, contending that her reportage had "crossed a line."

Avani Dias, the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, said she had to leave India on April 19, the day the Lok Sabha elections started, after the government objected to her reporting on the assassination of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

"Last week, I had to leave India abruptly. The Modi Government told me my visa extension would be denied, saying my reporting 'crossed a line'," Dias said on X.

"We were also told my election accreditation would not come through because of an Indian Ministry directive. We left on day one of voting in the national election in what Modi calls "the mother of democracy," said Dias, who had been working in India for the past two-and-a-half years.

She said after intervention from the Australian government, her visa was extended for two months, which was conveyed "less than 24 hours before my flight."

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said Dias was informed of the decision by an official from the Ministry of External Affairs, who said her most recent Foreign Correspondent episode "crossed a line."

ABC said YouTube has also blocked access in India to an episode of its news series Foreign Correspondent on the Nijjar killing.

Avani Dias is the South Asia Bureau Chief for ABC News, Australia.
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