Ranchi-based human rights activist Gladson Dungdung was Monday offloaded from a London-bound flight at the New Delhi aiport, allegedly because his passport was impounded in 2013 and required verification.
In a Facebook post, Dungdung said his passport had been released after being impounded in 2013. He claimed that the reason behind the offloading was his 2015 book Mission Saranda: A War for Natural Resources in India, which questioned the government’s stated intention of development, while allegedly harming tribal heritage and endangering the area’s fragile ecosystem.
Repeated efforts to contact Dungdung did not yield results.
Regional Passport Officer (Ranchi), Sanatan, said: “His passport was impounded in October 2013. The matter was referred to Jharkhand police, which verified the matter. After due procedure, Dungdung’s passport was released in July 2014,” he said.
Sanatan added that records clearly reveal that a communication mentioning that his passport was impounded was sent to all airports in 2013. “Then, in 2014, we again communicated to all concerned that it has been released,” he said. The possibility of any other injunctions like lookout notice by an investigating agency was not within his purview, Sanatan said, adding that he can’t say if the data of immigration officials concerned was updated or not. “As far as the passport office is concerned, we are sure that the communication saying Dungdung’s passport has been released was sent and received by all concerned,” he said.
Asked whether Ranchi police had issued any warrants or legal injunction against Dungdung, SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi said: “As of now, I am not aware of any such action. No official agency has contacted us for such details.”
A senior home ministry official said: “It is possible that he was on the blacklist with immigration authorities. However, we have not yet received any information about it.”
On Facebook, Dungdung narrated how he was offloaded from Air India flight AI-115 scheduled to leave for London around 4.25 am. He said: “I am sure that this is a clear impact of my book Mission Saranda: A War for Natural Resources in India.”