Country-wide Support pours in From Civil Society Organisations for Greenpeace India

Press release - April 21, 2015
Letter of protest against crackdown delivered to the home minister

New Delhi | April 21, 2015| Members of civil society in came together to condemn the NDA government’s recent crackdown on organisations like Greenpeace India. Releasing a protest letter that over 180 organisations and citizens have today sent to Mr. Rajnath Singh, the Union Minister for Home Affairs, the statement declared the crackdown as ‘shameful’ in a country that has a history standing up for social justice, ecological sustainability, and the rights of the poor.

The letter states that “It is shocking that despite clear judicial pronouncements, the government has for a third time acted against Greenpeace India. We cannot but conclude that this is an attempt to divert attention from the serious issues that Greenpeace India and many peoples’ movements and NGOs are raising, regarding the need to respect the rights of adivasis and others, who depend on the forests, wetlands, coastal areas, and other ecosystems, and the need to move towards policies that are ecologically sustainable and do not cause further climate change. Large-scale mining, such as in the areas that peoples’ movements are active, are a threat to forests and other natural ecosystems, to communities that depend on them including tribal peoples. These and other issues are highlighted by organizations such as Greenpeace India, which also generate significant information on the environment, crucial for taking the right decisions regarding sustainable well-being.”

Responding to a new development of the MHA’s alleged request to the Revenue Department to revoke the NGO’s charity status and society registration, Samit Aich, executive Director, Greenpeace India has called it an “orchestrated attack on free speech, Constitutional rights and India’s democratic fabric.” “The new line of attack questioning the charity status of Greenpeace has no more justification than blocking foreign funding or offloading Priya Pillai. Greenpeace India has nothing to hide and will continue to campaign for a sustainable and just future for Indians. Such attempts of clampdown only make us stronger,” said Aich.

Civil society members also held a press conference in Pune. Responding to the MHA’s all out attack, Ashish Kothari of Kalpavriksh and current Greenpeace India Board Chairperson said: “The move by the Ministry of Home Affairs to freeze Greenpeace India’s bank accounts and block both international and domestic funds is a blatant violation of the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association. It also seems to be an attempt to warn civil society that dissent regarding developmental policies will not be tolerated. These are dangerous signs for the future of democracy in India.”

Civil society activists including Medha Patkar, Achin Vanaik, Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Bittu Sehgal, Ashish Kothari, Lalita Ramdas  and many others, called upon the government to immediately stop its illegitimate and repressive moves, and respect the freedom of speech that all Indian citizens have a constitutional right to.

For Further information:

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

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

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