Australian Greenpeace activist sent back on arrival in City

Australian Greenpeace activist sent back on arrival in City

A Greenpeace activist from Australia was barred from entering India and was sent back after landing in Bengaluru on Saturday night.

The Home Ministry has said that his name figures in the “black list”.

The incident came to light on Monday after the NGO issued a statement, saying Aaron Gray-Block, the Greenpeace International activist who was travelling from Sydney, was “barred from entering” India “despite having a valid business visa and necessary documents”.

This is the latest government action against Greenpeace, which is battling charges of violating law regarding foreign donations. In September 2014, Ben Hargreaves, a UK national working for Greenpeace, was barred from entering India.

In January, another activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a London-bound plane and later the Delhi High Court ruled in her favour and “offload” stamp was expunged from her passport.

The statement said Gray-Block, Crisis Response Campaigner of Greenpeace International, was denied entry, his passport seized and he was put on a flight to Kuala Lumpur. His passport was returned to him after he landed in Kuala Lumpur. He then flew to Australia.

Gray-Block, a former journalist with Reuters, was travelling to India to take part in a series of meetings with Greenpeace India staff and to learn more about its current campaigns.

“Gray-Block arrived at Bengaluru Airport on June 6 at 11:40 pm. His name figured in the black list and thus was denied entry,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said
Divya Raghunandan, programme director of Greenpeace, said: “There is absolutely no reason why one of Greenpeace staff members should be treated in such an arbitrary way, and we expect the Home Ministry to offer a explanation. We are forced to wonder if all international staff of Greenpeace will now be prevented from entering the country.”

“Denying entry to a Greenpeace International employee with a valid visa is yet further proof of the extent to which the Indian government is prepared to go in violating Greenpeace’s right to freedom of expression under international law and under the Constitution,” the NGO stated. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said his ministry has nothing to do with the incident.

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