The shout down would leave the career of 340 employees of the organisation in jeopardy, the NGO claims
Yogesh Rajput | May 5, 2015 | New Delhi
Constantly cracking its whip, the government has finally forced Greenpeace India towards a shutdown, claims the NGO in a press release.
With the government already having cancelled the NGO’s access to foreign funds, its executive director Samit Aich on Tuesday said that the organisation is facing an imminent shutdown within a month in the absence of domestic funds. The government last month had also blocked Greenpeace India from accessing its domestic accounts, funded by donations from over 77,000 Indian citizens.
Calling it “strangulation by stealth”, Greenpeace India has challenged the union home minister to stop using arbitrary penalties and admit that he is trying to shut down the NGO because of its successful campaigns.
Aich, on Tuesday, addressed his staff to prepare them for the imminent shutdown of the organisation after 14 years in the country. “I just made one of the hardest speeches of my life, but my staff deserves to know the truth. We have one month left to save Greenpeace India from complete shutdown, and to fight MHA’s indefensible decision to block our domestic accounts,” said Aich.
The shout down would leave the career of 340 employees of the organisation in jeopardy. Aich continued, “The question here is why 340 people are facing the loss of their jobs? Is it because we talked about pesticide-free tea, air pollution, and a cleaner, fairer future for all Indians?”
Priya Pillai, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India, said, “I fear for my own future, but what worries me much more is the chilling message that will go out to the rest of Indian civil society and the voiceless people they represent. The MHA has gone too far by blocking our domestic bank accounts, which are funded by individual Indian citizens. If Greenpeace India is first, who is next?”
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.
Later in April, the government suspended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of Greenpeace India. 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.
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This piece is based on a previous article by the authors published in Geoforum [Elsevier] in May 2019: available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0016718519300764?via%3Dihub
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