Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan News
NEW DELHI — In the wake of an unprecedented economic slowdown, the Indian government has allowed a big Christian businessman to return to India who was blacklisted and denied entry by it in June 2015 on the ground that he was engaged in religious conversion. US citizen James David Murray, who runs a big business of high-end creativity of Indian crafts in seven countries, was finally able to return to India on Friday from USA.
Speaking to Caravan Daily, A C Michael, former Member of Delhi Minorities Commission and National Coordinator of United Christian Forum (UCF), said Murray was unduly targeted because of his religious identity and he along with his wife and two sons were blacklisted and denied entry into India by the Government of India in 2015.
On September 4, 2019, Michael said, through the intervention of allied lawyer from ADF India, they were able to return to India, after being cleared by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
A business, jointly directed by husband-wife American couple, employs about 150 skilled, semi and unskilled workers and delivering high-end creativity of Indian crafts to 300 retailers in 7 countries with internationally renowned brands.
James and his wife Melody and their two sons were handed a Look Out Circular in June 2015, while they were leaving for their annual holiday to United States, on the charges of being involved in missionary activities or activities in contravention to the provisions of the business visa.
In 2017, they challenged the deportation order before the High Court at Delhi and the Court directed that the Ministry of Home Affairs to conduct an inquiry within 8 weeks whether the American citizens, Melody Joy Murray, and James David Murray are involved in missionary activities or activities that are contravention to the provisions of the Business visa. However, MHA never provided any response despite the time limit.
In the same directive, the High Court had asked the MHA to remove the petitioners from ‘Adverse List’ or ‘Black List’, if they are not found involved in such activities. In spite of these directions, the Ministry of Home affairs failed to act and the Murrays were unable to return to India to manage their business.
On June 24, 2019, through the intervention of allied lawyer from ADF India, the MHA issued a letter stating “there is no impediment for the visit of the petitioners from the side of Government of India”. Sanbha Rumnong, allied lawyer, said, “The Murrays were unduly targeted because of their religious identity.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has reinstated their visa. Religious freedom is good for business and at a time when India is experiencing an unprecedented economic slowdown, the government should make more efforts to help foreign investment and businesses to flourish in India, rather than wrongly targeting people for their faith.