NEW DELHI: The government has barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds, alleging that it has “prejudicially affected the economic interest of the state”.
Greenpeace’s registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act or FCRA has been suspended. Sources said it has been asked to explain why that penalty should not be made permanent. Seven of its bank accounts have been frozen with the government alleging that the organization deliberately under-reported foreign contributions and used them in part to fund legal cases.
An internal report of the Home Ministry says that the activities of Greenpeace bordered on being “anti-national.” The report says that Greenpeace’s activities have slowed down India’s energy policy implementation by “physically preventing new nuclear and coal-based plants.” The report says that Greenpeace have been “creating” protests where none existed.
Even more damaging are claims in the report that Greenpeace and its allied organisations have created “front organisations” so that protest and disruptions cannot be traced back to the group. The report further claims that Greenpeace conspired with “foreign NGOs and donors at the Coal Strategy Conference in Istanbul that was held in July 2012” to create people centric protest in India.
But Greenpeace has dubbed this as a ‘smear campaign’. In a statement, Samit Aich, Executive Director of Greenpeace India, said, “This feels like a revealing moment, one that says much more about the MHA than it does about Greenpeace. We believe in the Indian legal system. A campaign is being waged against dissent, but we will not be cowed.”
Last year, the Intelligence Bureau said that Greenpeace and other lobby groups are preventing economic growth by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food. The government then asked the RBI tighten controls on moving funds from abroad into Greenpeace’s Indian accounts. A court in January ruled that the funds should be released immediately.
Last month, Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai won a case against the government to remove her name from a list of suspicious persons.
In January, she had been stopped at the Delhi airport by immigration officials from flying to London to brief British MPs on her work.