New Delhi: The government has barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds and frozen seven accounts of the environmental group, which has in recent months refuted allegations that it is running campaigns that are damaging the economy.
Greenpeace has also been sent a notice, asking it to explain why it should not be banned forever from receiving money from abroad. For now, its registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) has been suspended.
Sources in the Home Ministry told media that “very little field work” had been done by the non-profit, and that an inspection of its accounts reveals that it broke the rules for how to spend funds it has received from abroad.
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.
Yesterday, the organization said that the government had moved again to block its access to nearly 150,000 euros that were transferred to it on March 23. In a statement, Greenpeace said it was examining its legal options.
Samit Aich, Executive Director of Greenpeace India, said the government’s repeated moves to restrict the NGO’s funding and the movement of its personnel were clear attempts to “silence criticism and dissent”.
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.
The Delhi High Court ordered authorities to remove her name from an official list of people who must be checked at immigration and expunge the incident from her records.