A mass referendum signed by Hundreds of academics, students and activists had been submitted to the UK Home Office to reconsider its decision to deny a University of Cambridge scholar permanent residency in the UK for spending too much time in India, which she says was essential for fieldwork and research.
The Cambridge scholar Dr. Asiya Islam had been denied an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) by the UK Home Office last week on the grounds that she had been out of Britain for longer than the stipulated period for such an application. However, the 31-year-old academic points out that she had supplied supporting documents to explain the absence, which was due to time spent in New Delhi for her Ph.D. on ‘Gender, Class, and Labour in the New Economy of Urban India’.The Cambridge University describes Islam as an “outstanding young academic with a promising career in the UK”.
Dr.Asiya Islam’s “super-priority” ILR application costing nearly 3,500 pounds, was rejected by UK Home ministry saying it would appreciate her “re-integrate back into life and society in India”, having only been in the UK for a “short period”.“In addition, it is considered that you would be able to re-establish a private life and form new friendships, or resume friendships with former acquaintances, upon your return,” the letter adds.
The response has caused widespread outrage in the academic community and a retaliatory open letter, doing the rounds on social media.