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Pro-Palestine march: 37 Indian activists detained

March 29, 2012 21:32 IST

A group of 37 Indians, including 10 women, who were to participate in a pro-Palestine global march to Jerusalem, have been detained by Lebanese authorities at Beirut port.

Indian activists and journalists participating in the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), along with 3 Filipinos and one Iraqi, have been asked not to leave the 246-seater boat which docked at Beirut yesterday at 9 am (IST).

The GMJ's local contacts had been assured that the delegation would be issued visas on arrival.

"Our passports have been taken by Lebanese authorities," one of the detainees told PTI over phone.

Jaishankar Gupta, a journalist who is part of the delegation, said that Lebanese authorities denied them permission to leave the boat.

"We have been detained since 9 am (IST) yesterday. So far we have not been given any reasons for being detained or for the delay in issuing visas," he said.

"The authorities first said that we will be deported, but after we protested and refused to be deported, they detained us," he added.

He said that they were facing inconvenience in the boat and couldn't even sleep as there was no arrangement.

"It is not a big boat and there is no sleeping arrangement. We are sitting as such, but we have not panicked," he said.

The delegates are carrying the posters of Mahatma Gandhi and said they haven't done anything wrong to be treated like this.

"If they want they can arrest us. We are peace and democracy lovers. We do not fear anyone."

Though, he said, they have not got any confirmation regarding their visas, but they were told that Indian Embassy officials are in touch with Lebanese authorities.

The delegation is scheduled to take part in a protest gathering at the Israel border on Palestine Land Day on 30 March.

PTI
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