Greenpeace campaigner Priya Pillai ‘offloaded’ at Delhi from flight headed to London

Priya Pillai of Greenpeace was stopped by immigration officials early Sunday morning.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 12, 2015 4:14 pm
Greenpeace, Greenpeace activist, Priya Pillai greenpeace Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai. (Source: Twitter)

A Greenpeace senior campaigner was “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.

Priya Pillai of Greenpeace was stopped by immigration officials early Sunday morning. “I was told by the immigration officer that I couldn’t fly out of the country, even though I had a valid six-month visa. When I asked him why, he refused to give me a reason. Upon insisting, he took me to his senior officer, who in turn told me that I was on a database issued by the Government of India of individuals who can’t fly out of the country,” Pillai said.

She said she was scheduled to make a presentation to the Indo-British All-Party Parliamentary Group regarding her campaign with local communities in Mahan.

“I was supposed to make the presentation on January 14. The group is headed by Labour Party MP Virendra Kumar Sharma and I was told that members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tribal Peoples would also be coming,” she said.

“I want to know about this list that I am on. Who else is on it? On what criteria? Have I been clubbed together with drug peddlers and smugglers? This government can’t treat people who disagree with their viewpoint like this. I believe that decentralized renewable energy is the way forward for development. But I can’t be targeted by the government like this,” Pillai said.

She claimed she was one of many environmental activists who had been detained by the police after protesting in January 2014. “We had been granted bail and the case is going on at Mumbai. But I was not told about any condition to the bail regarding restrictions of movement,” she said.

Pillai said she was told by airport authorities that she was now banned from leaving India and her passport has been stamped with the word: Offload. She said this wasn’t the first time a Greenpeace campaigner has had problems and recalled that in September 2014, Ben Hargreaves, a UK national was refused entry to India, despite having a valid visa. “He had a valid work visa and he was in charge of social media. But after he arrived in India, he was deported and made to take the next plane back,” she said.

The incident comes a few months after the blocking of funds to Greenpeace by the Home Ministry. Greenpeace India’s Executive Director, Samit Aich in the statement said, “The government’s intentions are clear. They are trying to intimidate and bully Greenpeace and its employees but I would only reiterate that such acts only make us more resolute to continue our campaigns on protecting Indian people and India’s environment. We will not shy away from asking tough questions to the highest authorities.”

Greenpeace India has written to the Ministry of Home and External Affairs and to the Airport Authority of India asking the government to explain the legal basis for the ban on Pillai leaving the country, the statement said.

There was no official comment from immigration officials but one claimed “she was short of documents”.

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  1. G
    Jan 12, 2015 at 10:48 am
    do as we say.. not as we do... this scaremongering green activists' principle.. their executives fly 1000s of miles to "protest" against "flying" and their leader commutes 600 km weekly on airplane.. and to top it all... they lost millions of money in currency speculating market... the money poor people donated thinking they do some good.. Everything said, I am against offloading anybody.. there was no need to restrict movement without legal grounds, for their hypocrisy will be judged by people..
  2. G
    Jan 12, 2015 at 4:33 pm
    thika muchchappa... Sustained development for all ?? Look at the hypocrisy of these environmentalists... Tell me what are the proactive measures they have undertaken in that direction ??? other than shouting, accusations, and protesting,.. I agree on what you said happening in China... But, that is not the case with India for its insutions are entirely different... and how are you proposing to feed these billions of people here ? How Greenpeace suggest we give power to the poor's home ?? And look at their activity.. If you really be clever and look at right places and read between the lines, you will know Greenpeace is just a legit front for lobbying organizations... All of sudden they had uva erection, when India decided to buy Russian reactors.. though they didnt wake up for so long when the nuclear power was still being planned..
  3. a
    Jan 12, 2015 at 11:26 am
    Democracy dosent mean u can do anything which u wish on the stake of country,Just let me know why she was going to UK for presebtation . She should have done same in front of indian govermentAlso work on your GK as IB has also submitted proof against the same instution because of which there income source have bee sized
  4. a
    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm
    Have u seen the article it was related to some thing human right violation in mahan in mp
  5. a
    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:52 pm
    If u have studied the article she was going for some human right violation thing and not something related to so called economist.Secondly do u they were part of list made by ib who are hampering indian interest.So u count this as economic interess very easy for u to sit at home and write this bla bla bla but because of them our economy is happempering because many countries dosent want us to growI am one of the people who have seen the worst and saw men dying around me so stop this bull economic interest bla bla bla
  6. A
    anil kumar
    Jan 12, 2015 at 10:41 am
    I seems that this one of the best case which is highlighted by the priya & media persons, because i believe in a district like Sidhi, sinagrulali ,where mahan plant & other more plant at there saturated ,here various kind of illegal mining has been continuously work doing at these areas therefore nearby forest cutting and destroying with full involvement of local & government officers' this case is only come on lime light when activist Priya's pillai was ''offloaded'' by Government authority.
  7. A
    Aman Khatri
    Jan 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm
    Ask Arvind kejriwal for help.....He will more publicize this issue....
  8. G
    Jan 12, 2015 at 12:23 pm
    Why presentation is being given in front of British MPs. Why not in front of Indian MPs? Now you will say Indian MPs don't listen. But what will be the result if this presentation is given in England. Are we ruled by British?
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