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Muddled Centre: Confusion on Visa to Greenpeace Activist

Australian Greenpeaceactivist to Kuala Lumpur soon after he landed in Bangalore on June 6 night hasexposed the functional differences between the Union Home Ministry and theExternal Affairs Ministry.

While the MEA issued a business visa to the activist, Aaron Gray-Block,the MHA, or more precisely the Intelligence Bureau, stopped him from enteringIndia before putting him on a flight to Kuala Lumpur 45 minutes after he flewin from Sydney via the Malaysian capital. The Intelligence Bureau mans allimmigration counters across international airports in India.

The MHA has now taken the position that Gray-Block was oneof 13 foreign activists who were on a “blacklist” which automatically renderedhis visa null and void. According to the MHA, Gray-Block was ordered to leaveIndia because he arrived in Bangalore for “protest creation activities.”

However, what the decision on Gray-Block exposes is that onehand of the government had no clue about the other. Officials familiar with theissuance of visa said that the MHA’s so-called blacklist should have beenshared with the MEA, a step that would have helped the Indian visa officer inSydney to take an on-the-spot decision.

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