Basharat Peer in New Delhi.
Earlier this year, the government passed a circular which said that the police had to be informed every time a foreign citizen stayed with an Indian.
Soon after that there was another circular from the home ministry attempting to stop the participation of foreign scholars in any conference, seminar or even a workshop.
And the latest feather in the cap is the deportation and denying of visas to foreign supporters of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, who wanted to join the monsoon satyagraha of the movement.
On July 12, 2001, Canadian citizen Ali Sauer, holding a 6 month visa for India, was deported on her arrival at Delhi airport. Sauer, who had been to the Narmada valley last year, had written an article on in the Economic and Political Weekly.
The reason cited for her deportation was that she was a 'threat to national security'.
Back in Canada, Sauer appealed to the Indian embassy in Ottawa, but they couldn't be of any help. No reasonable explanation was ever given to her.
Foreigners Regional Registration Office chief P K Bhardawaj admitted to her deportation. "We had instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs that she was not to be allowed," he told rediff.com
While Sauer was lucky enough to touch the Indian shores, Nikki Warwick, an Australian supporter of the NBA, was flatly denied visa.
She was given no explanation by the Indian embassy, nor did they tell the embassies at Canberra or Brisbane why they would not let her enter the country.
Nikki was accused of 'indulging in anti-state activity' by the Indian embassy authorities in Australia.
Despite repeated attempts, the home ministry spokesman could not be contacted for comments.
Civil rights activists are fuming over these arbitrary ways.
Noted journalist and human rights activist Kuldip Nayyar, Columnist Asghar Ali Engineer, Film maker Anand Patwardhan and many others in a joint statement said: "It was only during the Emergency that similar paranoid steps were taken by the rulers, to see that the dubious human rights record of the country is not exposed to the outside world."
Angered by the curbs on their supporters, the NBA is breathing fire.
"The government seems to be afraid that its poor record of human rights may get exposed," an NBA spokesman said.
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