Immigration officials at IGI airport stopped a Greenpeace India employee from boarding a flight to London Sunday despite the fact she had a valid visa, a move the environmental group described as “bullying” by the government.
Official sources, however, said there was a look-out notice against the activist, which effectively bars her from leaving the country.
In a statement, Greenpeace India said its senior campaigner Priya Pillai was on her way to London to address British MPs on the “infringement of rights of forest communities” when immigration officials stopped her and stamped “offload” on her passport.
“I am shocked and saddened... Today my right to freedom of movement has been infringed and there was an attempt to treat me like a criminal,” Pillai said in a statement.
Greenpeace said it had written to the home ministry for a clarification.
The home ministry refused to comment when contacted. But official sources said a look-out circular – issued when the person is wanted by the police -- against Pillai bars her from entering or leaving the country. The activist has admitted she was booked in a trespass case during a protest for the rights of forest communities in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh.
Sunday’s incident comes four months after a Greenpeace UK employee was stopped from entering India and put back on a London-bound flight.
The Modi government tightened controls on foreign fund transfers to Greenpeace India in June after an intelligence report accused activist groups of “stalling development projects” by protesting against power projects, mining and GM food.
(With Agency Inputs)