Gaza-bound Indian activists stopped at Attari, launch dharna
Attari: A group of Gaza-bound
pro-Palestine Indian activists, who were scheduled to travel
to Lahore through the land border, began a dharna here on Saturday
after the Ministry of External Affairs denied permission
for them to cross over into the Pakistani side.
The 34 activists, who were granted visa by Pakistan to
travel till Lahore, were not allowed to cross the Indian side
as they did not have the mandatory permission from the MEA.
The MEA has not responded to their permission to cross
over even though it was sought a month back.
"We thought the Indian government has a stated policy
of support to the Palestinian people. But such
unresponsiveness makes us have serious doubts," said Sunil
Kumar, who is on the dharna with the others here.
The group makes up the "India Lifeline to Gaza", the
first such mission from the country, as it is part of the
Asian Peoples Solidarity for Palestine.
The group is part of the first Asian caravan to Gaza,
which will carry humanitarian aid on its mission of peace.
This historic endeavour will be travelling through 6 nations
on its way to Gaza.
The caravan was flagged off from Rajghat on Thursday
by senior Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Mani Shanker
The convoy was to travel through Pakistan, Iran,
Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, finally attempting
to enter Gaza on December 27, 2010.
But, the Indian contingent was allowed by the Pakistan
Government to travel to Lahore, from where the members will
take a flight to Iran to continue their road journey to reach
Gaza on December 28.
Ashim Roy, one of the members of the group, expressed
"deep disappointment at the decision of the Indian
Government's decision" and said that "it may just end up
sending a wrong message about the Indian commitment to the