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US Businessman blacklisted and accused of conversions allowed to return to India

Image courtesy: Deccan chronicle

TCN News

James David Murray, a Christian businessman who was blacklisted and denied entry by the Indian government in June 2015, was finally able to return to India on September 4.

James Murray and his wife Melody Murray, American citizens were jointly running a business called ‘J & M Murray & Company Pvt. Ltd’ in Dehradun. They employed more than 150 individuals, skilled, semi and unskilled workers and delivering high-end creativity of Indian crafts to 300 retailers in seven countries with internationally renowned brands.

The couple and their two sons were leaving for the US on an annual holiday but were given the ‘lookout notice’ (a circular given by the authorities to stop criminals from crossing the border) by the Ministry for Home Affairs. The family was blacklisted and denied entry in India.

They were charged with being involved in missionary activities such as converting people into Christianity.

James Murray challenged the deportation in 2017 before the High court, Delhi. The Delhi High Court ordered 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, the Ministry of Home Affairs never provided any response despite the time limit.

And the Murray’s could not come back and their business was left untended as the ministry did not follow the court directions.

However, in 2019, ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) intervened and represented the Murray family at the Ministry of Home Affairs as the couple were not involved in any missionary activity but were generating income to the economy with their business firm.

The press release of ADF said that ‘The High Court had asked the MHA( Ministry of Home Affairs) to remove the petitioners from ‘Adverse List’ or ‘Black List,’ if they are not found involved in such activities’ which is why their lawyers intervened.

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.

Sanbha Rumnong, allied lawyer, ADF India who represented the Murrays said, “The Murrays were unduly targeted because of their religious identity. The Ministry of Home Affairs has remedied this and reinstated their visa. Religious freedom is good for business and in a climate where India is experiencing an unprecedented economic slowdown; the government should be making more efforts to help foreign investment and businesses to flourish in India, rather than wrongly targeting people for their faith.”

On June 24th the MHA issued a letter stating ‘there is no impediment for the visit of the petitioners from the Government of India’.

Loreign Ovung, another lawyer from ADF who was also supporting the Murrays informed Twocircles.net, that they got information from their sources that David entered India without any problems and despite the long and difficult season for their family, they are grateful that they will now be able to meet their friends, employees and take care of their business.