New Delhi, March 12: Granting relief to Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, who was stopped from flying to London in January, the Delhi High Court on Thursday quashed the “lookout” circular issued against her and questioned the government’s move to stop her from travelling. Justice Rajiv Shakdher also directed the Bureau of Immigration to expunge the endorsements “off-load” made on Pillai’s passport when she was off-loaded from a flight to London by immigration officials at the Indira Gandhi Intertiol Airport on January 11.
“Bureau of Immigration shall expunge the endorsement ‘off-load’ made on Pillai’s passport. Furthermore, the government shall also remove Pillai’s me from the ‘database’ maintained by them pertaining to those individuals who are not allowed to leave the country,” said the court in its order. Pillai was invited to London to brief British parliamentarians on her campaign with local communities in Mahan in Madhya Pradesh, where a proposed coal mining project is allegedly threatening to uproot the lives and livelihood of a community but prevented from leaving the country by the central government. In its reaction, Greenpeace India welcomed the relief granted to Pillai, terming “the court’s decision as a vindication of the group’s legitimacy and the validity of its campaigns for the rights of people to their land and forests for clean energy, a healthy environment and to hold corporations and the government accountable”. Pillai, in a statement, said: “We are relieved that the court has cracked down on this undemocratic abuse of power by the government. The bar on my travel was a clear violation of civil rights.” “If this government is genuine about its promise of inclusive development that benefits all, it needs to work with civil society rather than seek to suppress it. (IANS)