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Activist's testimony would have been prejudicial to India: Govt to HC

Source: PTI
February 17, 2015 04:04 IST
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Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from her flight to London as her proposed "testimony" before a British parliamentary committee would have been "prejudicial" to India's interests, the Centre has told Delhi High Court.

The Centre also said her meeting with the committee would have had a "global cascading effect" which would create a "false image" of the country's "massive" efforts to protect tribals' rights that would only serve the "foreign policy interest of a foreign nation."

The submission to the High Court has been made by the Home Ministry in an affidavit filed in the court on February 13 pursuant to its direction to the government to file a counter affidavit with regard to their allegation mentioned in the report produced by Foreigner Regional Registration Officer.

In its affidavit, the ministry has also said that creation of a “false image” of India’s effort to protect tribal rights could also impact investment by foreign businesses in India.

The ministry has also said that "in-person testimony of local activists" are used by some foreign nations to "add credibility" to their reports which are used as "instruments of control" to further their "core objective" of "foreign policy masked in the cloak of protecting civil rights".

Such "tools" are "heavily biased" against "targeted countries" as unlike in the United Nations, no opportunity is provided to the "targeted" nation's local Embassy or High Commission to record their opinion, the ministry said.

The ministry also said the Look Out Circular was not issued to limit all of Pillai's freedom but "was focused only on the proposed activity of her deposing before a foreign parliament".

Pillai, who was on January 11 offloaded from a flight to London at the IGI airport in New Delhi, has moved the court seeking permission again to visit the British capital to make a presentation before British MPs on alleged human rights violation at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh.

On the last date of hearing, February 6, the court had expressed concern over Pillai not being allowed to visit London and said the government has to draw a line between "nationalism and jingoism".

37-year-old Pillai in her petition has said that she has challenged her "offloading" and the 'Look Out Circular' issued on her, which had resulted in the stamping of "offload" on her passport by immigration officials.

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