Indian Govt revokes travel ban on Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai

New Delhi: Government has revoked its order barring a Greenpeace India activist, who was controversially offloaded from flying to London in January, from travelling abroad, the NGO claimed today.

"Greenpeace India campaigner Priya Pillai visited the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Delhi to have the 'offload' stamp officially expunged from her passport," a Greenpeace India statement said. 

It said the travel restriction was overturned by the Delhi High Court in March, and formally revoked today. 

The green body said the FRRO's decision marked "the end of a four month ordeal" triggered by a controversial "look-out circular" in her name from the Intelligence Bureau. 

Pillai was stopped at the New Delhi airport in January by the immigration office from boarding her flight to London where she was to address British Parliamentarians. 

"Today I feel relief as well as great pride in India's legal system and our democracy. But we should not have to rely on the courts to deal with overzealous actions from the MHA.

"As I speak, Greenpeace India's national bank accounts are still blocked, that means Indian citizens are being prevented from supporting a democratic cause. That is shameful," Pillai said.

She hoped that the courts will rule in Greenpeace India's favour as its case was "strong".

"But the MHA knows that we do not have much time left. It lacks the courage to try to ban Greenpeace outright and is using arbitrary penalties to strangle us. This won't work. I am confident that democracy will win in the end," she added.

Greenpeace India had recently said it was staring at an imminent shutdown in the absence of funds to pay salaries of its staff after its domestic bank accounts were blocked by the Home Ministry.

The government has barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds by suspending its licence for six months and freezing all its accounts after alleging that it has "prejudicially" affected the country's interests.

The NGO has also submitted a comprehensive rebuttal to the Home Ministry's show-cause notice and demanded immediate unblocking of its funds.

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