Vietnam war veteran US officer seeks asylum in India

The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to examine the plea by a 72-year old ex-US Navy officer, who had fought in the Vietnam war between 1964-1967, for political asylum in India as he fears persecution in the USA.

Last Updated: May 14, 2010, 21:22 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed
the Centre to examine the plea by a 72-year old ex-US Navy
officer, who had fought in the Vietnam war between 1964-1967,
for political asylum in India as he fears persecution in the
USA.

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and H L Dattu, forwarded
the petition filed by the self-confessed "Gandhian" to the
Attorney General G E Vahanvati for his consideration and
report back to the court.

Appearing in person, Knaebel pleaded he should be granted
political asylum in India as he fears persecution if he goes
back to the US.

Knaebel had on June 19, 2009, created ripples by
destroying his passport at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at
Rajghat and condemned the "imperialistic" policies of the US
government.

According to Knaebel, his act of destroying the passport
would be considered as an act of "treason and sedition" by the
US government which would prosecute him and hence sought
asylum in India.

Though an American national, Knaebel has been in India
since 1995 on an an extended visa crisscrossing the country
and spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi.

Speaking to PTI, Knaebel said he was deeply influenced
by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautama Buddha,
Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and Swami Vivekanada.

"Only India must provide the moral leadership to the
entire world riven with strife, violence and war," he said.

PTI