Global March to Jerusalem
Logo of Global March to JerusalemOfficial site (Twitter)

A group of 37 Indians, including 10 women, who were to participate in a pro-Palestine global march to Jerusalem, have been detained by Lebanese authorities at Beirut port.

Indian activists and journalists participating in the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), along with three Filipinos and one Iraqi had been asked not to leave the 246-seater boat which docked at Beirut at 9 am (IST) on Wednesday, reported CNN IBN Live.

It also reported that the GMJ's local contacts had been assured that the delegation would be issued visas on arrival. However, their passports have been taken by Lebanese authorities.

Speaking to reporters, Jaishankar Gupta, a journalist who is part of the delegation, said that Lebanese authorities denied them permission to leave the boat.

"We have been detained since 9 am (IST) yesterday. So far we have not been given any reasons for being detained or for the delay in issuing visas," CNN IBN Live quoted Gupta as saying.

He also added that the authorities first said that the delegates would be deported, but after they protested and refused to be deported, Lebanese detained them.

Stating that the delegates were facing inconvenience in the boat as there was no arrangement, Gupta said that it was not a big boat and there was no sleeping arrangement.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of India in Lebanon, on behalf of the Indian government, was successfully able to negotiate their permit into the city.

The Indian Ambassador in Beirut, Ravi Thapar, along with officers Gopal Krishnan and PA Shukla ensured that the Indian delegation would receive a visa to enter Lebanon.

The delegation was scheduled to take part in a protest gathering at the Israel border on Friday.

The Indian delegates of GMJ started from New Delhi's Rajghat two weeks ago.  A bus carrying Indian delegates to participate at the GMJ was flagged off by the deputy chief of mission of Palestine embassy Zuhair Hamdallah Zaid.

Before moving to the Iran, the Indian delegates joined other delegates from Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia at the Wagah border, Pakistan.

Palestinian organizers called for the massive demonstrations on Friday to mark Palestine Land Day, an annual event that commemorates the killing of six Arabs who were protesting Israeli land policies on March 30, 1976, read a message by the official website of the GMJ.