Australian scribe’s exit from India seems part of growing pattern

After French journalist Vanessa Dougnac, it is now the turn of Indian-Australian scribe Avani Dias. The South Asia bureau chief for Australian broadcaster ABC News, who left India on 19 April, said in an X post on Tuesday that she had been denied a visa extension by the Indian government because her reports “crossed a line”.

While a two-month extension was eventually granted after “intervention from the Australian government”, it came a mere 24 hours before her flight out of India, Dias added in her post.

In February, Dougnac, the longest serving foreign correspondent in India, who lived in the country for more than two decades and served as South Asia correspondent for several French publications, left India asserting that she was compelled to do so by the Indian government.

In Dougnac’s own words, she was accused by the Modi government of engaging in “malicious” reporting and violating regulations, which she mentioned in her statement announcing her departure from the country.

Dias in her post wrote, “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”.

The action against Dias was allegedly the result of her reporting on the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of orchestrating, leading to a sharp diplomatic standoff between the two nations.

Leave a Comment