Statement of Protest: David Barsamian – Founder of Alternative Radio denied entry into India

For Publication and Circulation


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.


1               Abha Sur, Academic

2               Amar Kanwar, Film-maker

3               Amit Bhaduri, Academic

4               Amit Sengupta, Journalist

5               Anuradha Chenoy, Academic

6               Ania Loomba, Academic

7               Angana Chatterji, Academic

8               Anthony Arnove, Publisher/Activist

9               Aruna Roy, MKSS, Activist

10            Arundhati Roy, Writer

11            Arpita Banerjee, Academic

12            Ashok Prasad, Academic

13            Ajay Skaria, Academic

14            Basharat Peer, Writer

15            Biju Mathew, Academic

16            David Ludden, Academic

17            Deepankar Basu, Academic

18            Dibyesh Anand, Academic

19            Gyanendra Pandey, Academic

20            Harsh Dobhal, Journalist

21            Hussain Askari, Journalist

22            Jean Dreze, Scholar

23            Joel Geier, International Socialist Review

24            Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Academic

25            Kamala Visveswaran, Academic

26            Lalitha Gopalan, Academic

27            Manisha Sethi, Academic

28            Mirza Waheed, Writer

29            Nagesh Rao, Academic

30            Najeeb Mubarki, Journalist

31            Nitasha Kaul, Writer

32            Noam Chomsky

33            N Raghuram, Academic

34            Madhu Bhaduri, former Ambassador

35            Mridu Rai, Academic

36            Nurul Kabir, Engineer

37            Pankaj Mishra, Writer

38            Parvaiz Bukhari, Journalist

39            Philip Gasper, Academic

40            Pranav Jani, Academic

41            Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer

42            Rahul Roy, Film-maker

43            Sanjay Kak, Film-maker

44            Satya Sivaraman, Journalist

45            Shabnam Hashmi, Activist

46            Shripad Dharmadhikary, Researcher

47            Shohini Ghosh, Academic

48            Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist

49            Simona Sawhney, Academic

50            Sukumar Muralidharan, Journalist

51            Suresh Nautiyal, Journalist

52            Suvir Kaul, Academic

53            Saba Dewan, Film-maker

54            Snehal Shingavi, Academic

55            Sherry Wolf, International Socialist Review

56            Tariq Thachil, Academic

57            Vandana Shiva, Academic

58            Vijayan MJ, Activist

59            Vrinda Grover, Lawyer

60             V.S.Roy David

 V.S. Roy David

National Convener-National Adivasi Alliance
Ph: +91 8276-274091
Mobile: 09448476091

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