British lawmaker Lord Alexander Carlile, legal consultant to jailed former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia, today said he was denied entry into India under pressure from the Bangladeshi government. Carlile was not allowed to enter India last night for not having an “appropriate visa”, officials here said.
Indian authorities gave him “no true reason” for revoking his visa and denying him entry into India on his arrival here last night, Carlile told reporters here via video conference from the UK.
Asked about the Ministry of External Affairs’ assertion that his intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application, Carlile said it was “completely untrue” and a “lie”. He alleged that there was “intolerable political pressure” from the Bangladeshi government to try and stop him from going to India.
“The Bangladesh government called in the Acting Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka and asked him to urge the Indian government to refuse me entry. “The Indian government did that and they ought to be ashamed of themselves, denying a British QC, a member of the House of Lords, entry into India,” Carlile said.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said the British national arrived here yesterday without having obtained the appropriate Indian visa.”His intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application. It was, therefore, decided to deny him entry into India upon arrival,” he had said yesterday in response to a query.
Rejecting the MEA’s assertions, the House of Lords member said he had a valid business e visa granted several days ago by the India government.”I told them in the visa application that I was coming for meetings as a lawyer and as the UK’s chairman of the Commonwealth right’s initiative. They knew perfectly well why I was coming,” he said.
He said he was coming to Delhi for two reasons – to attend a press briefing as a leading lawyer in the team representing Zia and to meet colleagues in a Commonwealth body that deals with human rights. “When I embarked for India at Heathrow airport yesterday, my visa was checked through the automatic system on two occasions.
When I arrived in Delhi later and switched my phone on, I was informed that my visa had been revoked,” Carlile said. “The authorities at Delhi airport were very polite and helped me to return to the UK by another flight. However, the Indian authorities have given me no true reason for revoking my visa,” he said.
He also alleged that the Bangladesh government had not allowed him to visit the country as he was Zia’s lawyer. Carlile claimed there was “no admissible evidence” against the former prime minister on any of the charges brought against her.
There are several cases pending against Zia, including of graft. Her party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, claims that the cases are politically motivated to keep its party chief out of the national elections scheduled for December.