New Delhi: Greenpeace India on Thursday hit out at the government for suspending its licence and blocking foreign funding, saying it will not be 'cowed' down by a 'campaign against dissent' and is seeking legal counsel in the matter.
The environmental NGO said that although they are yet to recieve any official communication from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regarding this, it termed it as a 'smear' campaign and vowed to continue work towards clean air, water and inclusive development in India. "Greenpeace India has so far received no official communication from the MHA. It is seeking legal counsel on the information that is available on the MHA website," a statement by the NGO said.
The government today blocked foreign funding to Greenpeace India with immediate effect by suspending its licence for six months and served a notice to it asking why its registration should not be cancelled. The decision was taken by the Home Ministry after it was found that the NGO has 'prejudicially affected public interests and economic interests of the country in violation' of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
"This is a smear, pure and simple. All of this was put before the Delhi High Court when we brought a case against the Centre and the court decided in our favour. "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," said Samit Aich, Greenpeace India Executive Director.
The Home Ministry said the licence of Greenpeace India will be cancelled permanently if the NGO fails to give a satisfactory response to the notice.
The Greenpeace statement said that on January 20, the Delhi High Court had directed the MHA to transfer the blocked foreign funds from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation to Greenpeace India's accounts declaring MHA's actions to be "arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional".
"We will continue to work towards clean air, clean water and inclusive development in India because we believe that every citizen is entitled to it," Aich said. Noting that its work is supported by people of this country, Aich said 70 per cent of Greenpeace India's funds come from Indian donors.
"Greenpeace India added 30,746 new supporters, taking its tally of financial supporters within India to 77,768. In all, the group received Rs 30.36 crore, of which Rs 20.76 crore was given by supporters within India," Aich said.
With government tightening norms of fundings to NGOs, security agencies have alleged that nearly 200 foreign donors were indulging in money laundering under the garb of donating money to some of these organisations.
Economic wings of central security agencies have shared a list of 188 foreign donors to the Home and Finance ministries as well as relevant departments for keeping a check on their donations.