Greenpeace Campaigner Skypes London From Delhi After Travel Ban

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Greenpeace Campaigner Skypes London From Delhi After Travel Ban

Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai interacts with British MPs of the All Party Parliamentary Group through a Skype call.

New Delhi:  The Greenpeace activist, who was barred from flying out of India on Sunday despite a valid visa, was finally able to address British law-makers on Wednesday via Skype. The activist Priya Pillai spoke to parliamentarians in London about why Greenpeace believes a proposed coal mining project, planned for Mahan in Madhya Pradesh, would hurt the area's forest community.

"I am here to represent the people of Mahan and talk about their struggle to ensure that their rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India are not trampled upon," she said via Skype.

The interaction with British MPs of the All Party Parliamentary Group lasted about an hour, where she explained the grassroots fight in Madhya Pradesh's Mahan, where the locals have opposed a coal block.

"The issue of debarring me from leaving the county has become a typical case of passing the buck where each concerned ministry has fallen short of answers to suitably justify the law, under which they have banned me. When will someone in the government stand up, take responsibility and say, 'I ordered this'? We are determined in our campaign to protect India's environment and people and we will continue our work in Mahan even in the face of this massive clampdown," Ms Pillai said.

On Sunday, she was prevented from flying to London, despite a valid visa and other travel documents. The Home Ministry has so far refused to comment on record.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, senior officials of the Home Ministry had told NDTV that Ms Pillai is on a list of people who are meant to be stopped by airport officials from leaving or entering the country, because they have been red-flagged by a government agency or state police. "The government is well within its rights to prevent individuals from leaving the country, if it believes that it is against interest of the country," a senior official said.

The Ministry of External Affairs, meanwhile, said it has no say in immigration clearance.

Greenpeace has so far not received any reply on the formal complaint it has lodged with the government of India.



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