Denied entry into India, activist says action 'arbitrary'

Denied entry into India, activist says action 'arbitrary'

Aaron Gray-Block, Crisis Response Campaigner for Greenpeace International, was not allowed to enter India, and sent back to Australia. Gray-Block responded to queries from Deccan Herald’s Shemin Joy.

What was the purpose of your visit?

I had travelled to India to take part in a series of meetings with staff, and to learn more about Greenpeace India’s current campaigns. These meetings were about air pollution, climate change and coal mining—global issues that Greenpeace International works on all over the world.

How do you view this government action?
I was given no formal reason on why I was denied entry into the country, and am quite surprised by this action. There is absolutely no reason why I should have been treated in such an arbitrary way.

Greenpeace supports the free movement of people and ideas across the world. In fact, all global organisations send staff members from one country to another, including most Indian companies.

Were you expecting it?
Not at all. I visited India last November, and still held a valid business visa, allowing multiple entries into the country.

What is your next course of action?
Greenpeace Australia will raise this issue with the Australian authorities. We want Indian officials to explain why they stopped someone with a valid visa from entering the country. We want them to clarify if it plans to ban all our international colleagues from other  offices from entering the country.

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