India: Govt. blocks Greenpeace's foreign funding, activists raise concerns over freedom of expression

(Photo credit: Greenpeace)

On 9th April 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) suspended Greenpeace India's foreign funding. The MHA claimed that the environmental NGO's registration had been cancelled because Greenpeace had “prejudicially affected the economic interest of the state”. Greenpeace plans to challenge this in the court. Prior to this, there have been attempts by the govt. to impede programmes & campaigns organized by the NGO. Govt has banned 68 other NGOS from receiving foreign funds, while a report by the Intelligence Bureau alleged 22 NGOs stalling development in the country. Civil society & activists have raised concerns about freedom of expression and clamp-down on the civil society by the govt.

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Article
10 April 2015

Greenpeace’s plan to stall power plants fuels MHA action to suspend NGO's foreign funding

Author: Aman Sharma, Economic Times

he Union Home Ministry's move to suspend Greenpeace India's foreign funding appears to have been driven by its findings that the NGO has deprived Indian citizens of low-priced energy by derailing the Mahan coal project and the fear that it would next target eight more power plants...The home ministry's Inspection Report on Greenpeace India Society (GIS), dated March 4, 2015, which has been accessed by ET, says that the NGO would indulge next in "protest-creation" to target eight other.

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Article
10 April 2015

Seven absurd reasons the Home Ministry listed to block Greenpeace’s foreign funding

Author: Shoaib Daniyal, www.scroll.in

They used sarcastic language. They encouraged people to demand water to drink. These are two of the reason  offered by the Home Ministry to justify its ban on Greenpeace receiving foreign funds...some highlights...The report sharply critiqued a Greenpeace ad which attacked the low financial limits in India’s nuclear liability clause...placing “illegal obstructions to India’s energy plans” and “creating hurdles in the way of progress of our nation”....changed its address from Chennai to Bangalore without informing it...greenpeace pays its employees too much...The report said that Greenpeace was highlighting high levels of pesticide in India’s tea and was alarmed that the organisation was trying to test the presence of harmful substances in other foodstuffs.

 

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Article
10 April 2015

Greenpeace bank accounts frozen by Indian government

Author: Jason Burke, Guardian (UK)

Samit Aich, the executive director of Greenpeace, said the move was “an attack on democracy”. “They don’t like the questions we are raising. We are environmental activists asking questions about the environment. There has been intimidation, illegal attacks for some time now,” he said...In January a Greenpeace campaigner was stopped by Indian officials from travelling to the UK to deliver a talk to MPs about the impact of mining on a poor communities and the environment in central India...Over the past year, there have been a series of measures targeting Greenpeace and several other international NGOs working on similar environmental issues in India...

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Article
8 April 2015

Greenpeace drafts petition for democracy in India

Author: Greenpeace

...[O]n 09th of April the Ministry of Home Affairs in its website alleged that our foreign contribution status be revoked and our bank accounts frozen based on a series of absurd technicalities, which we will challenge in the courts...In January we won a similar case, the High Court declaring the MHA’s actions as arbitrary, and overruled them. In March we won another case, arguing that voicing your opinion does not make you anti-national...But the attacks and the clampdown continue, so please sign our petition.

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Article
8 April 2015

India: Government blocks Greenpeace India's foreign fundings, suspends NGO's licence for 6 months

Author: Press Trust of India

...[T]he Government...barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds with immediate effect by suspending its licence for six months and froze all its accounts, alleging it has "prejudicially" affected the country's public and economic interests...The environmental activist group was also served a notice by the government which asked why its registration should not be cancelled permanently...Reacting to the move, Greenpeace India said it will not be "cowed" down by a "campaign against dissent" and is seeking legal counsel in the matter.

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Article
10 March 2015

India: Delhi High Court quashes look out circular against Greenpeace campaigner Priya Pillai

Author: Press Trust of India

The Delhi High Court..set aside the look out circular issued against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai who was offloaded from a flight to London two months back, saying her fundamental right to travel cannot be curtailed...Justice Rajiv Shakdher, while upholding her right to travel abroad, also said Pillai has every right to hold a different opinion on development policies and this cannot be the sole ground to restrict her movement...The high court had earlier expressed concern over Pillai not being allowed to visit London, saying government has to draw a line between “nationalism and jingoism”.

 

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Article
2 March 2015

India: Alleging detrimental to industrial development, govt bans 69 NGOs from receiving foreign funds

Author: Times News Network

The government has blacklisted 69 NGOs from receiving foreign funds, junior home minister Kiren Rijiju told Lok Sabha...among those NGOs which were prohibited from receiving the foreign funds include 14 from Andhra Pradesh, 12 from Tamil Nadu, five each from Gujarat and Odisha, four each from Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala and three from Delhi...Apart from stalling mega industrial projects including those floated by Posco and Vedanta, these NGOs have also been working to the detriment of mining, dam and oil drilling projects in northeastern India, it said.

 

 

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Article
21 January 2015

India: Greenpeace activist stopped from traveling to UK due to NGO's involvement in anti-national activities, says govt. officials

Author: Vijaita Singh, Indian Express

Days after Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a flight to London at the IGI airport in Delhi, it has emerged that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) used the “etc” category in an internal order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to issue the lookout circular that stopped her from flying out. This was done as there was no criminal case against Pillai, officials said. The NGO has been involved in anti-national activities and there was a suspicion her travel was not in national interest.” The official added that Pillai’s air ticket was funded by Greenpeace UK, which brought her travel under the scanner. 

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Article
20 May 2015

Greenpeace India staff to work for free, donations surge

Author: Mayank Agarwal, Livemint

Greenpeace India on Thursday claimed it has seen a surge in donations from well-wishers and its own staff after the central government froze its local bank accounts and blocked it from receiving foreign contributions.
Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich...said that since 9 April, the organization has received donations from 2,800 new donors...At a press conference, Aich released a letter from his staff in which they have promised to work without pay in June. The organization, which employs around 340 people in India, had earlier warned that it will be unable to continue operations with its bank accounts blocked.

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