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For the second time, Greenpeace member denied entry into India despite a valid visa

Facing Flak For Illegal Bank Accounts, Non-governmental Environmental Organisation Greenpeace On Monday Again Came Up In News After One Of Its International Staff Member Aaron Gray-Block Was Refused Entry Into India.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Devika Chhibber | Updated on: 08 Jun 2015, 12:26:59 PM

New Delhi:

Facing flak for illegal bank accounts, non-governmental environmental organisation Greenpeace on Monday again came up in news after one of its international staff member Aaron Gray-Block was refused entry into India.

The incident happened despite Block having a valid business visa.

Protesting against the incident, Greenpeace claimed that no formal reason was given by the immigration officials for the decision and he was not even officially deported.

According to Programme Director, Greenpeace India Divya Raghunandan, “Our colleague has a valid business visa, and yet he was prevented from entering India with no reason given. Greenpeace International is a global organisation that helps to find solutions to environmental problems. We support the free movement of people across the world, which is crucial to the work of business as well as charities."

He added, "There is absolutely no reason why one of its staff members should be treated in such an arbitrary way, and we expect the Ministry of Home Affairs to offer a full explanation. If the Home Minister Rajnath Singh has a stand on this, then we would like him to state it clearly. We are forced to wonder if all international staff of Greenpeace will now be prevented from entering the country?"

Greenpeace India also informed that they will meet representatives of different political parties and raise the issue of fundamental rights, after the government suspended its FCRA registration and blocked its domestic and international bank accounts.

Greenpeace India campaigner Priya Pillai said the organisation will speak to all the political parties to stand up and protect the fundamental rights.

Pillai was recently “offloaded” at Delhi airport from a flight to London where she was scheduled to make a presentation before British MPs regarding alleged human rights violation at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh.

“Civil Society has an important role to play in a democracy. We will speak to all political parties to stand up and protect the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

“We are calling on all political leaders across parties to stand up for Indian democracy and for the principles of freedom of speech and association,” said a statement from Greenpeace India quoting Pillai.

On June 4, a delegation of civil society organisations met with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to discuss the issue.

Greenpeace India had organised World Environment Weekend under which various environment related activities were planned across 148 cities including Jaipur, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Cochin.

Last week, the Delhi High Court had granted interim relief to Greenpeace India allowing it to access two of its bank accounts.

On April 9, the MHA had suspended Greenpeace’s FCRA registration and blocked its domestic and international bank accounts.

Sunanda Mehta, a Greenpeace activist, who participated in the Bangalore event said, “Greenpeace is under attack from the Ministry of Home Affairs for speaking out, but criticism is an important part of any democracy. We are here to stand up for free speech.

“If this government is keen on development, then it must work with civil society organisations like Greenpeace, instead of trying to silence them. Sabka saath, sabka vikaas has to be more than an empty slogan.

(With PTI inputs)

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First Published : 08 Jun 2015, 12:20:00 PM