UK students and staff on charity trip to Tamil Nadu deported at Chennai airport

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Sixteen students and three staff from the Poynton School, UK who are on a charity trip to tsunami hit areas in Tamil Nadu were deported at the Chennai airport by the immigration authorities due to recent changes in the visa rules by the Centre.

They belong to Poynton High School and David Waugh, the head teacher of the school left the airport on Tuesday morning after coming to know that the passengers who come to India on tourist visa should not do the work of a non-government organization.

The teenage students had to wait for more than 10 hours to take a return flight. The teacher who accompanied the students was questioned for hours by the immigration authorities.

Chennai Airport

Chennai Airport (ImageCourtesy:twitter/chennaiairport)

The teacher said that the school was visiting Chennai for the third time in partnership with India Direct, an NGO based in UK.

The Chennai immigration officers contacted their seniors in Delhi.

The Delhi officers told them to follow the latest visa rules and deport them back to the UK in the next available flight. The UK students returned from Chennai through British Airways after waiting for hours.

The deported head teacher posted his experience at Chennai airport in the India Direct’s website saying: “As you can imagine the staff and students are in a state of tired shock, having travelled for 48 hours on a round trip. Our hearts go out to this great team of staff and students, who have already made a real difference, and who must be so disappointed”.

He added: “Chennai airport immigration officials claimed that the group had no rights to enter the country on their visa because they were going to be undertaking work with a non-governmental organisation.

In reality, the students were going to visit the Children’s homes that they have raised thousands of pounds for, and to experience the rich, diverse and exciting culture of the region. The students and staff returned back to Manchester, via Dubai, landing at Manchester airport in the early hours of Wednesday morning, along with the toys and stationery that they had taken over for the children in the homes”.

As per the BBC reports, UK foreign office is discussing the issue with the Indian government. The school has raised more than £27,000 since 2005 for a small charity based organization called India Direct in Macclesfield, that supported building and running two children’s homes in India.

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