Two Israeli Chabad emissaries active in the south Indian state of Kerala have been questioned by authorities and are due to be expelled from the country, the Times of India reported on Tuesday.
The married couple are suspected of being Israeli agents or spies. According to the article, undercover police officers tracked them for a year before filing a deportation order. The state intelligence department said that the couple regularly held meetings at their rented house and were under close surveillance.
The main point of suspicion was the extremely high rent the Chabad couple was paying in the city of Kochi and their long stay in the country, which required exiting and re-entering India whenever their visa expired.
A Chabad spokesperson was quoted on the Walla news website as saying that local business owners had complained about the couple, but that their activities were part of their religious work in India.
Chabad sponsors numerous couples throughout India to provide Jewish services and hospitality to Israeli and Jewish travelers. Kochi is particularly popular because it historically has had a strong Jewish community.
The article generated spirited commentary, with hundreds of Indians debating the relationship between Israeli, India and Pakistan, as well as Indian Hindu and Muslim relations and how each group regards Israelis and Jews.