Greenpeace India has been banned from receiving foreign donations in a bid by the government to curtail its activities. Government officials have accused the charity of trying to stall India’s economy by campaigning against large infrastructure projects including nuclear power and mining activities.
Particular attention is being paid to Greenpeace by the Indian government as their security services believe that opposition by the NGO to key development policies and projects could knock as much as three percent off the country’s annual growth figures, the Telegraph has reported.
Greenpeace is expected to launch a court challenge against the decision, but the government is insisting that Greenpeace India has violated rules on foreign funding, withheld financial information and damaged the country’s economic interests.
Vinuta Gopal, a senior Greenpeace India official has slammed the move as “a desperate attempt to get us to cease our work,” saying it was “yet another attempt to silence criticism.”
The Indian government has been at war with Greenpeace for most of this past year.
In January, Delhi airport authorities prevented Priya Pillai, an Indian Greenpeace campaigner from boarding a flight to London. The restriction was challenged in the High Court, where the government argued that Ms Pillai intended to promote a “negative image” of India which could hamper investment into the country. The Court ruled in Ms Pillai’s favour, declaring the order illegal.
In April, the government then froze Greenpeace’s accounts and overturned its foreign funding licence, a move which was also overturned by the Court in Delhi.
Ms Gopal has dismissed the latest ban as “this latest melodrama,” saying: “Since the majority of our funding comes from Indian citizens, most of our work can indeed continue.
“We are confident that people will show they are ready to fight back in style, and send a clear message to those in power: you just can’t muzzle dissent in a democracy.”
However, India is not the only country accusing Greenpeace of economic sabotage.
In Canada, Greenpeace was last year accused of “trampling on the reputations of Canadian companies in order to destroy their business, and with it jobs and prosperity” with its campaign to force electronics giant Best Buy into diverting business from Resolute Forest Products, one of the largest Canadian forestry companies.
EcoDaily warned: “Greenpeace is not an entity designed to contribute to a balanced view of environment protection. It is an utterly irresponsible organization which sucks naïve souls into thinking they are “speaking up for nature” when they are really threatening jobs and livelihoods, including their own.”