Citing violations of visa norms under The Foreigners Act, Indian authorities have deported a US journalist who had been making documentary films on the environmental and health impact of the Sterlite copper smelting plant, located in Tuticorin, an industrial city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, media reports say. The US journalist in the line of fire, Mark Scialla, is in the process of being blacklisted by the Indian government, which is essentially banning the freelance journalist from returning to India. Supporters of the Anti-Sterlite Movement (ASM) are also being questioned by the police.
Police look at registration of a case & deporting Mark Scialla, freelance US journalist who interviewed #sterlite protesters on Dec28,29 at Tuticorin for violation of visa norms. Anti-Sterlite Movement's (ASM) Prince Cardoza who helped him questioned. #SterliteVsFakeactivists— Samaskarebyaha (@samskarebyaha) January 2, 2019
The 'Leave India Notice' to the US journalist included a citation of visa norms he had violated. Scialla had entered India on a tourist visa in December. According to the Foreigners Act, people visiting the country on tourist visas are not allowed to work in the country.
Before his deportation, Indian authorities interrogated Scialla, asking about activists he had met and the people he had interviewed and filmed in his documentaries. According to media reports, the US consulate has refrained from sharing any information regarding the matter, citing privacy laws that apply to US citizens.