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INDIA

India ejects Norwegian ‘for protesting’ against citizenship law

A Norwegian tourist on Friday said authorities had ordered her to leave India after taking part in protests against a new citizenship law, becoming the second European to be ejected over the demonstrations.

India ejects Norwegian 'for protesting' against citizenship law
People protest against the Indian government's Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Kolkata on December 12th. Photo: AFP

Janne-Mette Johansson, 71, told AFP that police gave her “verbal assurances” that she could take part in peaceful demonstrations against the law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims.

“Yesterday (Thursday), Indian immigration officials came to my hotel for questioning and I was mentally tortured. Today, they again showed up at my hotel asking me to leave the country or they will take a legal action and deport me,” she said.

The woman, who had posted photos from the demonstration in the southern state of Kerala on Facebook, added that she would leave India for Dubai on Friday evening and then fly to Sweden.

European visitors to India require visas and the Press Trust of India news agency quoted an official from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office as saying that Johansson “violated visa norms”.

Earlier this week a German studying physics in the southern Indian city of Chennai was also asked to leave after taking part in a protest and comparing the law to anti-Jewish Nazi legislation, PTI reported.

Photos on social media purportedly of the student, named as Jakob Lindenthal, showed him carrying a placard saying “1933-1945 We have been there”.

“After the Nazi era, many people claimed not to have known anything about genocides or atrocities or stated that they were only passive,” Lindenthal told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

“Therefore I see it as a duty to learn from these lessons and not only watch when things happen that one believes to be the stepping stones to a possibly very dangerous development.”

Indian authorities have not commented on his case.

The protests, which have raged for two weeks and left at least 27 people dead, were set to continue on Friday with mobile internet snapped in places and riot police deployed.

The government says that the law easing citizenship rules for religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan excludes Muslims because they face no persecution in those countries.

But coupled with a mooted citizens register, it has stoked fears including in Washington and the UN rights office about the marginalisation of Muslims who make up 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion people.

READ ALSO: Norway wealth fund drops Indian group over environment concerns

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INDIA

Norway wealth fund drops Indian group over environment concerns

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, has taken Indian industrial giant Bharat Heavy Electricals out of its investment portfolio due to environmental concerns, the Norwegian central bank said on Friday.

Norway wealth fund drops Indian group over environment concerns
Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB scanpix

Bharat Heavy Electricals has been targeted because it is building a coal-fired power plant in the Sundarbans, one of the world's largest mangrove forests straddling Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.

The fund — worth an estimated 8.1 trillion kroner (852 billion euros, $934 billion) — has also placed Chinese oil giant PetroChina and Italian aerospace group Leonardo under observation over corruption allegations, said the Bank of Norway, which manages the wealth fund.

READ ALSO: Norway's wealth fund drops 52 coal companies

Some 65 senior executives at PetroChina, a listed entity of the Chinese oil giant CNPC, are being investigated on suspicion of bribery in China, Canada and Indonesia.

Leonardo is also under observation due to its involvement in several cases of alleged or proven corruption in India, South Korea, Panama and Algeria between 2009 and 2014.

The fund which has shares in some 9,000 companies around the world, must follow ethical rules which prohibit it from investing in companies that produce nuclear arms, tobacco, risk environmental damage, violate human rights, and enterprises deriving a large part of their business from coal.

More than a hundred groups, including giants like Airbus, Boeing, British American Tobacco and Wal Mart, have been blacklisted and a dozen others are under observation.