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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India: Civil society protest Greenpeace shutdown, seek transparency & clarity on Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act
Author: Sourav Roy, Social Story
Greenpeace India has accused the government of using “unfounded” allegations in an attempt to “silence” it as the NGO submitted a comprehensive rebuttal to the Home Ministry’s show-cause and demanded immediate unblocking of its domestic bank accounts...According to PTI, in its 26-page rebuttal on allegations involving its internal finances and its compliance with the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), the NGO said that the show-cause notice was “riddled” with clerical errors and baseless allegations. It further accused the Home Ministry of “leaking misinformation” to the media instead of abiding by the principles of natural justice and also charged that it had failed to respond to its own requests for documents.
India: An open letter to India's Prime Minister on communities' right to consent & civil society's right to dissent
Author: Aruna Chandrashekhar, www.coalscamblog.com
Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi...I write to you as a citizen of this country, a consumer of its resources and a benefactor of its largesse. As a citizen, I have what your Environment Minister called a ‘vested interest’ in my own survival...We are at a cusp of our nation’s history- economically, politically and socially. While a large portion of us now walk the liberal road of wider economic choices, far greater millions are yet to see evidence of basic development, and are being pushed into wider chasms of inequity...by removing safeguards on social impact assessment and acquiring the consent of affected communities’ for a series of different projects, you say that businesses don’t have the time to meaningfully consult with stakeholders, ignoring your obligations to protect citizens from human rights abuses.
Greenpeace India has asked its 340 employees to prepare for the organisation to shut down in a month, unless the Home Ministry unfreezes its bank accounts...The environmental NGO said...that it...has been left with funds for staff salaries and office costs that will last for just about a month” and that it will not be able to continue with its campaigns “which strived to represent the voice of the poor on issues of sustainable development, environmental justice and clean, affordable energy”...On April 9, the government blocked the NGO's bank accounts and asked it to explain why its registration should not be cancelled, claiming that Greenpeace had “prejudicially affected the economic interest of the state”.
Author: Asian News International
Members of civil society came together to condemn the NDA government's recent crackdown on organisations like Greenpeace India. Releasing a protest letter that over 180 organisations and citizens have today sent to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the statement declared the crackdown as 'shameful' in a country that has a history of standing up for social justice, ecological sustainability, and the rights of the poor..."It is shocking that despite clear judicial pronouncements, the government has for a third time acted against Greenpeace India. We cannot but conclude that this is an attempt to divert attention from the serious issues that Greenpeace India and many peoples' movements and NGOs are raising, regarding the need to respect the rights of adivasis and others, who depend on the forests, wetlands, coastal areas, and other ecosystems, and the need to move towards policies that are ecologically sustainable and do not cause further climate change," the letter states.
Author: Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India
Author: Economic Times
Greenpeace India may appeal in court this week against the suspension of its licence by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which said as per law, the NGO should first approach the ministry. The organisation is seeking opinion on its legal options, Vinuta Gopal, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace India.
Author: Colin Todhunter, Global Research
Attempts to dampen dissent in India are nothing new. State repression and physical violence. as well as the structural violence resulting from particular economic policies, affect many regions and impact tens of millions of the country’s poorest and most powerless citizens. As the current administration seeks to speed up the opening of India’s economy to private interests and to more fully embrace the tenets of neo-liberal economic doctrine, more difficult times may lie ahead for dissenting voices.
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Author: Aman Sharma, Economic Times
Greenpeace International has called the Narendra Modi government's action against its Indian arm of suspending the latter's FCRA licence as a "harassment campaign" that is "suppressing the voice" of Indians, even as Greenpeace India said it would challenge the move in court..."Ever since the leaked and malicious IB report of June 2014, Greenpeace International has been concerned by the harassment campaign that sections of the Indian government, mainly the Ministry of Home Affairs, has been running against Greenpeace India. This latest move appears to be more of the same and is clearly an attempt to suppress the voice of Indians demanding their legal and constitutional rights to clean air, safe food and a healthy and liveable environment," Greenpeace International said.
Author: Press Trust of India
The Home Ministry has alleged that Greenpeace is trying to hurt the Indiantea industry which employs 35 lakh workers and earned USD 644 million from exports last year, by projecting abroadthat homegrown leaves of the beverage have hazardous pesticides...According to a report prepared by the HomeMinistry on the activities of Greenpeace India the NGO has published a researchpaper titled ‘Trouble Brewing on IndianTea’ where it has claimed that the beverage has hazardous pesticides.
Author: Harsh Mander, www.scroll.in
The Indian political establishment is openly antagonistic towards international engagement with domestic human rights and justice battles. While foreign capital is welcome, foreign support for justice issues in India is often viewed from a hyper-nationalistic lens. This can be heard in sections of public opinion, and stridently by the state when it is confronted with social dissent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stirred the pot with his public taunts against people he described as "five-star activists", warning the country’s senior judiciary from coming under their sway.