Activists slam MHA for targeting NGOs, blocking funds

Press release - November 7, 2014
Press Release Activists slam MHA for targeting NGOs, blocking funds Civil society leaders call on government to stop harassment, respect right to dissent

November 7, 2014| New Delhi| Civil society leaders today joined environmental group Greenpeace India in calling on the Ministry of Home Affairs to end its campaign of NGO intimidation.

Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan, lawyer and women’s rights activist Vrinda Grover, Achin Vanaik of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace and journalist, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta joined Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo and Greenpeace India Executive Director, Samit Aich to talk about the government’s recent actions towards NGOs. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the MHA has justified blocking Greenpeace India’s access to foreign funds on the dubious pretext that the NGO is involved in activities “adversely impacting national interests”.

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said: “Greenpeace is a globally respected organisation that for the last 40 years has worked for a sustainable and equitable future. We are present in over 50 countries and all continents. For us to be ‘blacklisted’ in this manner is unprecedented. Civil society voices are critical to any democracy, and suppressing these voices through restrictive measures like blocking funding sources is against all that India represents to the world. This is not the image that the new government should be projecting to the world.”

Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court Advocate, decried the MHA terming Greenpeace activities as against national interest. “When did advocating for clean development, energy access for all and the implementation of India’s laws become against national interest? When organisations like Greenpeace India raise their voices against the policies of the State that threaten the environment, they are operating within the constitutional frame of India and should be allowed to do so. The government is bending over backwards to attract foreign investment in mining, insurance, retail and other sectors – why is it afraid of the money that comes to legitimate NGOs?”

Greenpeace has written to Minister for Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, and Minister for Environment,Forests and Climate change, Prakash Javadekar, seeking an appointment to discuss the case and Greenpeace India’s work.(1)

“The discredited IB reports have distorted Greenpeace’s work in India – be it electrifying the village of Dharnai in Bihar that has been in darkness for three decades, or supporting the legal rights of tribals in Madhya Pradesh’s Mahan forests. These are core national and developmental issues that affect all Indians especially those living in the remote pockets of the country. Prime Minister Modi himself has supported the goal of inclusive democracy and electricity for all, so how can this, be considered anti-national?” said Samit Aich, ED of Greenpeace India.

Naidoo’s visit comes days after the launch of the fifth IPCC report, where the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders to reduce their investments in coal and fossil fuels and move to renewable energy. “Prime Minister Modi has the power to bring about this change. His vision for India is an ambitious one, but he needs to ensure that it is inclusive, democratic and sustainable too. The reality is that we are running out of time to prevent catastrophic climate change which is already taking lives, destroying infrastructure and impacting livelihoods.  We desperately need India’s leadership at the global level so that we can secure our children and their children’s futures, said Naidoo.

The speakers also stressed that the government’s recent actions on the environment is at odds with its mandate of ‘Sabka Saath Sabha Vikas’, and emphasised that the role of environmental watchdogs like Greenpeace is important to keep checks and balances on government’s environment policies.

Greenpeace India’s legal case against the MHA for blocking of funds comes up for hearing in the Delhi High Court in January 2015.


  1. Copy of letter to Rajnath Singh, Minister of Home Affairs attached.
  2. Copy of letter to Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change attached


Anindita Datta Choudhury: Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India: ; +91-9871515804

Avinash Kumar Chanchal: Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India: ; +91-8359826363

Jitendra Kumar, Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India: ; +91-9868167337

Madhulika Verma, Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India: ; +91-9971137736

Pari Trivedi, Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India: ; +91-9873495994