Jharkhand-based human rights activist Gladson Dungdung has alleged that he was offloaded from an international flight on Monday morning for what he suspects to be a backlash to his recent book on mining in Saranda Forests and the resulting human right violations.
Dungdung was on his way to London from Delhi to attend a workshop on environmental history and politics of south Asia in Sussex University when he was offloaded, he said in a public Facebook post today.
"The reason told to me is that my passport had been impounded in 2013, therefore, they will send it back to RTO, Ranchi for verification," he wrote, adding that his passport was returned to him after verification in 2014, following which he even travelled to Denmark and London to attend international conferences in the last two years.
He claimed that he had not faced any problems with international flights since. However, Dungdung's book, 'Mission Saranda: A War for Natural Resources in India', was published last year, and this is his first international trip after that. "Therefore, I'm sure that this is a clear impact of my book."
He returned to Ranchi on Monday after he was unable to board his flight. Dungdung told HuffPost India that he got his boarding pass and was at the immigration desk when he first got inkling of what was to come. "As soon as the immigration officer heard that I worked in the human rights field, he walked away to talk to his superiors, returning only 15 minutes later," he said. "Then he called the Air India staff asking them to remove my luggage since the system apparently showed my passport had an 'impounded' status."
Dungdung's passport was earlier impounded because of a "sensitive report" from state police, just a few days before he was expected to speak about the conditions of tribals in India in a conference in Germany and Thailand.
"Defaulters of millions of INR like Mr. Vijay Malaya cant be offloaded but activists like me are bound to be offloaded," wrote Dungdung on Monday. "However, my fight for the Adivasis' ownership rights over the Natural resources, Adivasi identity, Human Rights, Ecology and against unjust development processes will continue till they take away my right to life forever. Jai Adivasi!"
HuffPost India has reached out to Air India for comment.