An Indian journalist and activist has recently come out to say that she had been barred from boarding a flight to London where she was scheduled to address an event on the targeting of journalists in the world's largest democracy, India.
Rana Ayyub, a prominent journalist and a vocal critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government, was on her way to London on Tuesday and then to Italy to attend different events.
In a tweet, Ayyub explained how the immigration officials at Mumbai airport stopped her from getting on her flight.
She also stated how she received a summons via email from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes, an hour after she reached the airport, reports Al Jazeera.
The ED which is controlled by the federal government of India is reportedly investigating the 37-year-old Washington Post columnist for alleged money laundering.
"I was told I have to go back home," Ayyub told The Indian Express newspaper on Wednesday.
"I was supposed to receive an award and also address the newsroom of the Guardian newspaper. My entire plan has been public all this while and I have always been in touch with ED", she added.
ED sources revealed that Ayyub was stopped from boarding the plane because of a lookout circular that was issued against her for only responding to only one of the two summons.
However, Ayyub has denied these claims and explained that she has already submitted the required documents.
Kavinder Gupta, a politician in Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, alleged that "People (like Ayyub) take money from foreign agencies to create disturbances in the country."
"It is important that all her connections are thoroughly investigated. The Enforcement Directorate is probing her and till the time the investigation has not reached its conclusion, she should not be allowed to leave the country," Gupta told Al Jazeera.
Ayyub was expected to speak on 1 April at an event organised by the International Center for Journalists, Doughty Street Chambers and the International Bar Association.
"All these events with @julieposetti @DoughtyStIntl @journalismfest have been planned and publicised all over my social media for weeks. Yet, curiously the enforcement directorate summon arrived in my mail much after I was stopped at the immigration. What do you fear?" she tweeted.
Ayyub has been requested to appear on Friday for questioning in connection with the case, reports Indian media.
Journalists from across the world have condemned India's actions and called on the authorities to allow Ayyub to travel freely for her work.
Julie Posetti, global director of Research at International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and a leading expert on online violence against women journalists, was Ayyub's co-speaker at the London event.
"Indian authorities are trying to criminalise Rana Ayyub's journalism practice," she said.
"They are now seeking to restrict her movement as well as her journalism and her press freedom advocacy as a direct response to her critical reporting of the Modi government and far-right Hindu nationalism."
Posetti said that by stopping Rana Ayyub from attending is a "direct retaliatory attack on her rights to practice journalism and advocate for press freedom".
She has stated that the organisers are thinking about postponing the London event.
"But we very much hope that the Indian authorities urgently reverse the spurious decision to prevent Rana Ayyub from travelling to the UK," she told Al Jazeera.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also said the travel restrictions were "the latest example of growing pressure against her".