Priya Pillai: why am I being singled out?

Greenpeace campaigners have faced such issues earlier too

January 12, 2015 11:02 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai has demanded to know why the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was preventing her from leaving India. In a letter to the MHA on Monday, she wondered why she was being singled out and if there was a lookout notice against her as was reported in a section of the media.

Despite having a valid U.K. visa, Ms. Pillai was stopped from boarding a flight to London on Sunday.

Ms. Pillai was arrested last year for protests against the London-based Essar Energy in Mumbai along with a group of affected villagers from Mahan. She was charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass, house trespass, defacing property, unlawful assembly, cheating, and even attempted suicide.

Greenpeace sources, however, said she was released on bail and her bond did not say that she could not leave the country.

This is not the first time a Greenpeace campaigner has faced such issues. In September 2014, Ben Hargreaves — a U.K. national — was refused entry into India, despite holding a valid visa.

Last June, a British academic Dr. Penny Vera-Sanso, who was to attend a meet in Hyderabad, was turned away at the airport. She was invited to attend the 12th Global Conference on Ageing, between June 10 and June 13. She was refused entry by immigration officials without offering an explanation.

Earlier, she had participated in the fifth national convention of the Right to Food Campaign that was organised in Gujarat from March 1 to 3 and held an exhibition in Sanand and Ahmedabad. That could possibly be the reason she was refused entry, though there was no official confirmation.

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