New Delhi: The Centre has denied permission to a Greenpeace activist to enter India as his name figured in a home ministry “black list”, months after one of the NGO’s campaigners was “offloaded” from a flight.
The NGO raised strong objections to the denial of entry to Aaron Gray-Block at Bengaluru airport on June 6. “Gray-Block arrived at Bengaluru airport on June 6 at 23.40 hours. His name figured in the black list and thus was denied entry,” said a senior official of the home ministry.
Greenpeace India, which was under the government’s scanner for allegedly violating various provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, said Mr Gray-Block had flown in from Sydney on Saturday to take part in a series of meetings with staff.
Sources in the MHA said Mr Gray-Block had earlier campaigned against mining of Mahan coal block (Madhya Pradesh) and had written several articles and blogs criticising the Indian government.
The Australia-born former journalist lives in the Netherlands and has been associated with Greenpeace International for past several years. In a tweet, Mr Gray-Block said he was refused entry into India despite having valid business visa.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said his ministry has “nothing to do” with the denial of entry. “We are not doing this. A different ministry is doing this for security of the country. It’s a different thing,” he said in response to a query on the matter. Greenpeace India claimed that no formal reason was given by immigration officials in Bengaluru for turning back Mr Gray-Block, who was not officially deported.
The NGO claimed that as Mr Gray-Block was denied entry, his passport was seized and he was later put on a flight to Kuala Lumpur. His passport was returned to him after he landed in Kuala Lumpur.