On 19 December 2019, Jakob Lindenthal, a 24-year-old German student, participated in a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in Chennai, a city in Tamil Nadu. As an exchange student from the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, Lindenthal had been studying physics at IITM since July 2019. He was scheduled to study at the campus till May this year. But after photos of his participation in the anti-CAA protest circulated on the internet in December last year, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office ordered him to leave the country immediately. Lindenthal has been back in Germany since 25 December 2019.
It is unclear whether he will be allowed to return to India. Lindenthal has been trying to communicate with Indian authorities and get clarity on the matter. On 30 December, an official at the Indian embassy in Berlin suggested to Lindenthal to not try to re-enter India via his current visa. Lindenthal replied, “I do hope that it will not affect academic relations between Germany and India. The eviction of a student can certainly be viewed as an unfriendly act, especially under such undocumented and therefore unprofessional and possibly illegal circumstances from the side of Indian immigration authorities. I would like to make you aware that a similar case would never happen in Germany since demonstrations are open to everyone and even in case of an eviction order legal assistance and appealing the decision would be permitted.”
On 4 January 2020, Holger Fröhlich and Julia Lauter, freelance journalists based in Germany, interviewed Lindenthal via Skype and email. Lindenthal spoke about why he protested against the CAA in India and the parallels he sees between the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled India and Germany during the beginning of the Third Reich.