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Officials dismissed Australian Journalist's claims of forced departure from India.

A source called her claims misleading and mischievous and further claimed that it was Dias who had violated visa rules

A government official rejected the claims of Australian Journalist Avani Dias who was claiming that she was not allowed a visa extension as her reports “crossed the line”. She highlighted it as the reason for leaving India abruptly during the election. Her claims were denied on Tuesday by a government official stating that she had “violated visa rules”.

Dias, the South Asia Bureau Chief for Australian broadcaster ABC News, took on Instagram to explain her abrupt departure from India on 19 April the day one of polling for the first phase of Lok Sabha election.

“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’. After Australian Government intervention, I got a mere two-month extension… less than 24 hours before our flight,” she claimed.

She added to it by saying, “We were also told my election accreditation would not come through because of an Indian Ministry directive. My partner and I left on day one of voting in the national election in what Modi calls the mother of democracy.”

A government source dismissed her claims by saying, “The contention of Avani Dias, South Asia correspondent of Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that she was not allowed to cover elections and was compelled to leave the country is not correct, misleading and mischievous,” reported PTI citing the source.

The source claimed that Dias had violated visa rules. Adding to it, the source said, “Ms Dias was found to have violated visa rules while undertaking her professional pursuits. In spite of this, on her request, she was assured that her visa would be extended for the coverage of the general elections. Her previous visa was valid till 20th April 2024,”

The source also denied her claims of not being allowed to cover the election. The source said, “authority letters are required only for access to polling booths and counting stations. This, however, cannot be processed while the visa extension is under process.”

“It is pertinent to note that other ABC correspondents — Meghna Bali and Som Patidar — have already received their letters,” said the source.

You might also be interested in – Journalists and key service providers eligible to cast votes via postal ballots in Lok Sabha elections: ECI

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