The NGO claims that this would given them some more time to breathe
Yogesh Rajput | May 21, 2015 | New Delhi
A fortnight after it announced being on the verge of a shutdown, Greenpeace India on Thursday said it has opened a new bank account in order to sustain itself in the wake of a financial crunch. The new account, based in Bangalore, has attracted over 2,800 new donors, the NGO claimed. “This would give us some more time to breathe,” said Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India while addressing a press conference.
Earlier, the NGO had accused the centre of forcing the NGO towards a shutdown by blocking access to all its domestic accounts, which were funded by as many as 77,000 Indian citizens. The government had already frozen foreign accounts of the NGO. “Of the total funding we used to receive, 70 to 75 percent came from domestic accounts. It is surprising we are still termed as a foreign funded NGO,” said Aich.
Though the new bank account brings in some respite for the NGO, Aich said the situation was still grim and the organisation had little time to get the centre’s order revoked. “We had filed a writ petition in the Delhi high court against the Centre’s order. The next hearing is on May 26. We hope to get relief from the judiciary,” he added.
Priya Pillai, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India, said, “It is a difficult procedure to inform all the 77,000 existing donors about the new bank account. Till then, we have to continue our fight some way or the other.”
Meanwhile, NGO’s staff comprising of 340 members has expressed support and will to remain committed to the NGO’s cause, Aich said. The NGO is also seeking support from the United Nations, by inviting supporters residing abroad to sign a petition and present it in front of the UN.
Willy D'Costa of the Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) also expressed solidarity with Greenpeace India. “We, too, have been victims like Greenpeace India. Two years ago, the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of our organization was also suspended, but was subsequently resumed by the courts,” D’Costa said.
In January this year, Priya Pillai was barred by the government from travelling to the UK where she was to give a presentation to the ‘All Party Parliamentarian Group’ (APPG) on Indo-Britain relations and tribal affairs about alleged human rights violations of the tribal community by Essar Power (a company registered in the UK) in the Mahan coal block area of Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh. However, the Delhi high court in March set aside the government’s lookout circular that prevented Pillai from visiting the UK. The government has numerous times accused the NGO of threatening national economic security and presenting India in a bad light in front of the world due to vested interests.