Israel deports Indian delegation headed for Palestine
By Siddhant Mohan
A 13-member delegation from India was detained at the Israeli border on Wednesday while on its way to visit Ramallah, the headquarters of Palestinian National Authorities or PLO.
The delegation comprised of Navaid Hamid, the president of All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat; Mohammad Salim, Communist Party leader and the member of parliament from West Bengal; Zikrur Rahman, former Indian Ambassador to Palestine; Niaz Ahmed Farooqui, secretary at Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind; Sufi scholar Shaikh Aboobacker, social activist Swami Agnivesh, Christian scholar John Dayal, Harcharan Singh Josh along with others.
The Indian delegation was supposed to take part in a conference themed “Jerusalem: the eternal capital of Palestine” organised in Ramallah by PLO authorities.
However, when the delegation reached the West Bank Border between Jordan and Israel, Israel authorities stopped the delegation at the immigration checkpoint from entering the borders.
Navaid Hamid told TwoCircles.net, “Israeli authorities told us that our visas were canceled by the Military Tribunal. So we could not enter there.” However, the delegation was not informed of their visa cancellation before. According to the claims, the delegation had the valid visa in possession.
Moreover, Israeli authorities told Mohammad Salim – who holds the diplomatic passport as a member of parliament – that he could visit the land but on the condition that he would not go to Ramallah. Salim, who was traveling with his wife and a son, was also advised he could not take his son to Palestinian land.
Mohammad Salim refused to comply with the conditions, consequently, the whole delegation was detained at the West Bank border for more than four hours.
The delegation was boarded on to a bus with their passports confiscated and handed over to the Jordanian authorities.
However, after the intervention of the Ministry of External Affairs, India, Israeli authorities allowed Mohammad Salim and his family to visit Ramallah without any conditions imposed. According to Navaid Hamid, Mohammad Salim is on his way to Ramallah where he will take part in the conference. Rest of the delegation is on its way back to India.
While boarding the bus, Navaid Hamid said he told Israeli officials, “We feel honored to be deported because of our commitment to the Palestinian cause.”