Greenpeace registration to operate in India cancelled2 min read . Updated: 06 Nov 2015, 11:49 PM IST
The organization claimed that the order was passed without it being given a hearing
New Delhi: In fresh trouble for Greenpeace India, the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies (RoS) on Friday cancelled its registration, the basis on which the activist organization operates in the country.
The notice, dated 4 November, from the district registrar, Chennai Central, to Greenpeace India, read: “Greenpeace India is directed to pass a special resolution and dissolve itself… If Greenpeace India society fails to pass the resolution within one month, the registrar will appoint a suitable liquidator to wind up the society."
On receiving the notice, Greenpeace India said the move is a manifestation of the deep intolerance for differing points of view that sections of the government seemed to harbour.
“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," said Vinuta Gopal, interim executive director at Greenpeace India. “The ministry’s clumsy tactics to suppress free speech and dissenting voices are turning into a major national and international embarrassment for this government."
Under the law, a non-governmental organization (NGO) can get registered in any state and then operate across India. The organization claimed that the order was passed without it being given a hearing.
“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," Gopal said. “We have faith in the legal process and are confident of overcoming this order."
“As long as institutions are working in accordance with the law of the land, there should not be a witch-hunt," environmental lawyer Sanjay Upadhyay said.
For Greenpeace India, the troubles started with a leaked Intelligence Bureau report in June 2014 which described the NGO as a threat to the country’s national interest and economic development.
In January, Indian authorities offloaded Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai from a flight to London, where she was scheduled to discuss the organization’s campaign against a mining company.
The offload stamp on her passport was revoked in May following a Delhi high court order.
The centre had, in April, frozen the NGO’s bank accounts, alleging violation of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.
Greenpeace moved the Delhi high court, which allowed it to use two of its accounts to receive and use fresh domestic donations for its day-to-day functioning.
On 8 June, Greenpeace International member Aaron Gray-Block from Australia was refused entry into India despite possessing a valid business visa. The home ministry said he was sent back as his name was on a government blacklist.
Soon after, the NGO was served a show-cause letter, threatening to cancel its registration over questions regarding its operations and funding. The letter dated 16 June was issued after an inspection of the NGO’s office in Chennai on 3 June by the RoS.