The Regional Passport Office in Mumbai has asked Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar to explain why her passport should not be impounded after she allegedly failed to disclose information about criminal cases pending against her, The Times of India reported on Thursday. Patkar was reissued a passport in March 2017.
A show-cause notice was issued to Patkar on October 18, and the passport office also sought details from the director general of Madhya Pradesh Police. The passport authorities have noted that nine criminal cases against Patkar are pending at present. Three of the cases are in Barwani district, one in Alirajpur district and five in Khandwa district, according to India Today. Most of the cases contain charges of rioting and obstructing government officials from carrying out their duty.
The action was taken after a journalist filed a complaint, accusing the activist of concealing and suppressing information from the passport authorities.
The passport officials had sought Patkar’s explanation within 10 days. “I had sent a reply to the RPO saying that at the time of application, there was no case pending against me,” the activist told The Times of India. “After I sent the reply, they sent another notice giving me 15 days to produce documentary evidence for the cases. I have the documents of some of the cases but not all.”
Patkar said the cases were filed during the Narmada Bachao Andolan agitation, which began in 1985. “These were not cases against me alone but against a large group of people,” she added. “I don’t even remember appearing in Khandwa.”