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German student 'kicked out of India' after joining anti-Modi protests

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Jakob Lindenthal, a German student, attends a march to show solidarity with the students of New Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia university, in Chennai
Jakob Lindenthal, a German student, attends a march to show solidarity with the students of New Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia university, in Chennai   -  
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A 24-year-old German exchange student has claimed that he has been asked to leave India after he joined protests against a new citizenship law promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Jakob Lindenthal, who is studying a master's degree in physics in the southern city of Chennai, took part in two protests against the law, which critics say discriminates against India's Muslim minority.

In a photo that was shared on social media, Lindenthal was seen with a placard that read: "1933 to 1945 - We have been there", a reference to the period that Germany was under Nazi rule.

He told Reuters that he was told to attend a meeting with India's immigration authories and informed that he had violated his student visa by taking part in "political activities outside the campus."

It is an allegation that Lindenthal, who spoke ahead of his flight home, denies.

Read more: India rocked by wave of violent protests against citizenship law

“I think nobody can claim that I was just there to exploit my student visa to go on anti-government demonstrations and harm the country’s integrity or something. But that was how they presented it to me,” he said.

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Euronews on 24 December.

Opposition lawmakers have criticised the move as an effort by Modi to shutdown criticism of his nationalist government.

"This is dismaying. We used to be a proud democracy, an example to the world. No democracy punishes freedom of expression," said Shashi Tharoor, MP for Thiruvananthapuram.

At least 23 people have been killed in protests that have raged across India in response to the new law, with the majority of those dead young people, Indian police say.

The ongoing backlash against the law marks the strongest show of dissent against the Hindu nationalist government of Modi since he was first elected in 2014.

The law allows Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted because of their religion in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It does not apply to Muslims.

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