Noam Chomsky, Romila Thapar, Arundhati Roy, other intellectuals protest deportation of legendary American radio broadcaster David Barsamian

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  STATEMENT OF PROTEST

We write to protest the denial of entry to David Barsamian by Immigration Authorities at the New Delhi airport in the early hours of September 23, 2011, and we write to draw attention to the growing arbitrariness of the Indian Government in dealing with dissent of any kind.
David Barsamian is a veteran broadcaster, and founder and director of Alternative Radio, a weekly one-hour public affairs program offered free to all public radio stations in the US, Canada, Europe and beyond. For more than 25 years Alternative Radio has provided information, analyses and views that are frequently ignored in other media. Structured around intensive interviews conducted by David Barsamian, these programs are carried by over 125 radio stations and heard by millions of listeners.He is the author of numerous books with Edward Said, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy and Tariq Ali.
David is a friend for many of us, but he is an older friend of India. He first came as a young man in 1966, and has since returned innumerable times, immersing himself in its  music, languages and poetry. He has taught himself Urdu and Hindi, learned to play the Sitar, and closely follows events in the sub-continent.
When he was deported on September 23 he had a visa which was valid for another 5 years, and although he last visited in February 2011, he had no intimation or warning that he was in violation of any of the conditions under which his visa was issued. The only thing that the Immigration Officers were able to tell him was that he was “banned” from entering the country, and that the reasons were a “secret”.
The deportation of David Barsamian unfortunately mirrors the manner in which Prof Richard Shapiro was arbitrarily stopped from entering India in November 2010. We are dismayed that this power to send people back from the airport is slowly becoming a weapon, used to discipline and silence people who draw any kind of attention to uncomfortable truths about India. A year later Prof Shapiro still has no formal response on why he was stopped, and when he can regain his right to travel to India, where he has family.
We therefore ask that the ban on David Barsamian and others like Richard Shapiro be revoked, and the Government of India not impede their return to India.
We demand that the right to travel and the right to free exchange of ideas between scholars, journalists, artists, and human rights defenders be respected and protected, and that government agents not authorize the denial of entry and eviction of visitors to India, or monitor their movement. Free exchange of ideas is one of the most basic human rights and values in free democratic societies. Freedom of travel is one of the most important avenues for furthering such exchange among peoples. Recognizing this, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India has ratified, protects freedom of expression, right to travel and scientific exchange.
Signed:
  1. Abha Sur, Academic
  2. Amar Kanwar, Film-maker
  3. Amit Bhaduri, Academic
  4. Amit Sengupta, Journalist
  5. Amita Swadhin, Activist/Educator
  6. Anuradha Chenoy, Academic
  7. Ania Loomba, Academic
  8. Angana Chatterji, Academic
  9. Anthony Arnove, Publisher/Activist
  10. Anivar Arvind, Activist
  11. Aruna Roy, MKSS, Activist
  12. Arundhati Roy, Writer
  13. Arpita Banerjee, Academic
  14. Ashok Choudhary, Activist
  15. Ashok Prasad, Academic
  16. Ashim Jain, Activist
  17. Ajay Skaria, Academic
  18. Basharat Peer, Writer
  19. Biju Mathew, Academic
  20. Colin Gonsalves, Lawyer
  21. D.Gabriele, Activist/Academic
  22. David Ludden, Academic
  23. Deepankar Basu, Academic
  24. Dibyesh Anand, Academic
  25. Gyanendra Pandey, Academic
  26. Harsh Dobhal, Journalist
  27. Harsh Kapoor, Activist
  28. Himanshu Kumar, Activist
  29. Hussain Askari, Journalist
  30. Indira Unninayar, Advocate
  31. Jean Dreze, Scholar
  32. Jinee Lokaneeta, Professor, Political Science NJ
  33. Joel Geier, International Socialist Review
  34. Junaid Rana, Academic
  35. Kalpana Mehta, Social Activist
  36. Kasturi Basu, Research scholar
  37. K B Saxena, former secretary to GOI
  38. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Academic
  39. Kamala Visveswaran, Academic
  40. Krishna Subramanian, Academic
  41. Lalitha Gopalan, Academic
  42. Manisha Sethi, Academic
  43. Manoranjan Mohanty, Academic
  44. Mirza Waheed, Writer
  45. M. V. Ramana, Academic
  46. Nagesh Rao, Academic
  47. Najeeb Mubarki, Journalist
  48. Nitasha Kaul, Writer
  49. Noam Chomsky
  50. N Raghuram, Academic
  51. Madhu Bhaduri, former Ambassador
  52. Maliha Safri, Academic
  53. Mridu Rai, Academic
  54. Nurul Kabir, Engineer
  55. Pankaj Mishra, Writer
  56. Parvathy Prem, Graduate Student
  57. Parvaiz Bukhari, Journalist
  58. Philip Gasper, Academic
  59. Pothik Ghosh, Radical Notes
  60. Pranav Jani, Academic
  61. Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer
  62. Rahul Roy, Film-maker
  63. Ramaa Vasudevan, Academic
  64. Ramnath Bhat, Activist/Writer
  65. Ravindran Sriramachhandran, Academic
  66. Raza Mir, Academic
  67. Rohan Dsouza, Academic
  68. Romila Thapar, Academic
  69. Rupal Oza, Academic, New York
  70. Saadia Toor, Academic
  71. Sabina England, Filmmaker & Playwright
  72. Sanjay Kak, Film-maker
  73. Sanjeev Mahajan, Writer
  74. Satya Sivaraman, Journalist
  75. Shabnam Hashmi, Activist
  76. Sreekanth Reddy, IT Professional
  77. Shripad Dharmadhikary, Researcher
  78. Shohini Ghosh, Academic
  79. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist
  80. Siddhartha Ghosh, Academic
  81. Simona Sawhney, Academic
  82. Sonny Singh, Musician
  83. Subhash Mohapatra, Journalist
  84. Sukumar Muralidharan, Journalist
  85. Suresh Nautiyal, Journalist
  86. Suvir Kaul, Academic
  87. Saba Dewan, Film-maker
  88. Snehal Shingavi, Academic
  89. Sherry Wolf, International Socialist Review
  90. Shourin Roy, Writer/ Blogger
  91. Tanushree, Journalist
  92. Tariq Thachil, Academic
  93. Umang Kumar, Freelance Journalist
  94. Vinay Bhat, Consultant, San Fraancisco
  95. Vandana Shiva, Academic
  96. Vijayan MJ, Activist
  97. Vrinda Grover, Lawyer
  98. Yogesh Chandrani, Academic
  99.  
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