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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

French journalist Vanessa Dougna exits India over Overseas Citizen of India card row

Today, I am leaving India, the country where I came 25 years ago as a student, and where I have worked for 23 years as a journalist: Dougna

PTI, Reuters New Delhi Published 17.02.24, 06:29 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

French journalist Vanessa Dougnac on Saturday left India saying she cannot afford to wait for the outcome of the legal process set in motion after she received a notice from the Indian government regarding the cancellation of her Overseas Citizen of India card.

"Today, I am leaving India, the country where I came 25 years ago as a student, and where I have worked for 23 years as a journalist. The place where I married, raised my son, and which I call my home," Dougnac, the South Asia Correspondent for French publications La Croix and Le Point, Swiss newspaper Le Temps and Belgian daily Le Soir, said in a statement.

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Last month, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office served a notice to Dougnac asking why her OCI card should not be cancelled. They claimed that she was "undertaking journalistic activities without any special permission as required under Citizenship Act 1955 and rules/regulations issued thereunder".

Dougnac said leaving India was not her choice and that she was forced to do so by the government which had claimed that her articles were "malicious" and harming "the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India".

The notice to Dougnac also figured in the delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, who was the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations.

On January 26, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra, in response to a question, had said that France did "appreciate" India's "frame of reference" to look at the case purely through a lens of compliance with rules.

"People are free to do what they are accredited to do in a given space. But here I think the principal issue is whether the person is compliant with the rules and regulations of the state under which they come," Kwatra had said.

The French foreign ministry had no immediate comment on Friday.

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