Greenpeace activist offloaded at Delhi airport: NGO claims intimidation by the govt

The official, Priya Pillai, was scheduled to address British parliamentarians on 14 January on the rights of forest communities in India 'being infringed for coal mining', Greenpeace said in a statement.

FP Staff January 12, 2015 20:24:01 IST

New Delhi: Environmental watchdog Greenpeace on Sunday claimed that a woman official working with the NGO was stopped from boarding her flight to London at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The official, Priya Pillai, was scheduled to address British parliamentarians on 14 January on the rights of forest communities in India "being infringed for coal mining", Greenpeace said in a statement.

"I am shocked and saddened the government has yet again run roughshod over people working to protect democratic rights in the country," Pillai said in a statement issued by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace activist offloaded at Delhi airport NGO claims intimidation by the govt

File image of Greenpeace India activists

Pillai was reportedly asked to wait for three hours after which she was told that her name was on a list of people who weren't allowed to travel beyond. This despite the Greenpeace campaigner having a valid business visa to travel to the UK for the next six months.

In an article on its site, Greenpeace India said that her passport had been stamped with "offload". They also uploaded a photo of Pillai's passport:

Greenpeace India claimed in its statement that it was the second time an employee of theirs had been stopped by Indian airport authorities and citing the case of activist Ben Hargreaves, who is a UK national, being denied entry into India in September 2014 despite having a valid visa.

It also pointed out that earlier the government had frozen foreign funds to the organisation and made it mandatory for them to take the permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs to get access to them. The NGO said that the Delhi High Court was scheduled to hear the matter on 20 January.

While immigration department officials refused to comment on the matter, the Indian Express quoted an unnamed official as saying that she was "short of documents" without elaborating on which ones.

Greenpeace India claimed that Pillai's case only highlighted the government's attempt to intimidate them.

"The government's intentions are clear. They are trying to intimidate and bully Greenpeace and its employees," Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich was quoted as saying in the NGO's statement.

The statement said the NGO has written to the home and external affairs ministries and to the Airports Authority of India, after its employee was stopped in spite of having the appropriate documents.

with IANS inputs

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