November 6, 2015: Greenpeace India Society has just received notice from the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies, summarily announcing cancellation of its registration as a society. While several international leaders, including the United Nations Secretary General have recently upheld the importance of civil society in healthy democracies, this notice is the latest assault on free speech in India. Over the last 18 months, Greenpeace India has endured repeated attempts at suppression through different government authorities, and prepares yet again to seek legal redress.
Reacting to the latest development, Vinuta Gopal, Interim Executive Director, said:
"The RoS is clearly acting under directions from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi, which has been trying to shut Greenpeace India down for over a year now. The MHA’s clumsy tactics to suppress free speech and dissenting voices are turning into a major national and international embarrassment for this government. This is an extension of the deep intolerance for differing viewpoints that sections of this government seem to harbor.
"The Registrar has passed this order without granting Greenpeace a hearing, and without complying with the Madras High Court order to address each of our points and queries. This is a blatant attempt to circumvent the legal process and shows no respect for the law.
"We are confident that we are on strong legal ground. We have faith in the legal process and are confident of overcoming this order."
Notes to the Editor:
1 – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asserted that the civil society is the oxygen of democracy as it acts as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth. The civil society, the Secretary General continued, ‘plays a critical role in keeping Government accountable, and helps represent the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups.’ This was the message of Mr Ban on the observance of the 2015 International Democracy Day. http://lagos.sites.unicnetwork.org/2015/09/23/civil-society-the-oxygen-of-democracy-ban-ki-moon/
2. Greenpeace’s response to the Registrar - http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/2015/RoS%20Nov/GP%20reply%20to%20RoS%2005.10.2015.pdf
3 – Registrar’s cancellation letter - http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/2015/RoS%20Nov/ROS%2006-Nov-2015-cancellation.pdf
For more information contact:
Hozefa Merchant, +91 9560706856
Jitendra Kumar, +91 9868167337