Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that she was espousing the rights of tribal communities in Mahan area in Madhya Pradesh, which cannot be deduced as anti-national activity or secessionism.
Challenging the issuance of a look out circular (LOC) in Pillai’s name, senior advocate Indira Jaisingh said she was protesting against a multinational company and her off-loading from a London-bound aircraft amounted to curtailing freedom of speech.
“The conflict here is between a multinational company and the tribals… In my case, I am espousing the rights of tribals who are a part of the Indian Union. This cannot be termed as anti-national or secessionist,” Jaisingh said.
A bench of Justice Rajiv Shakhder later reserved its verdict on Pillai’s plea challenging Centre’s move to disallow her to travel to London last month where she was to depose before a UK Parliament’s formal committee on rights violations at the Mahan coal blocks.
During the hearing, Jaisingh said that the government failed to show how Pillai’s talk in London would constitute a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India.
The Centre had justified the issuance of the LOC saying that Pillai was traveling abroad with “specific anti-India agenda.” It had also argued that her campaign against the government would have impacted the country’s image abroad, “at a time when India is looking forward to foreign direct investments.”