Last week, Greenpeace’s seven bank accounts with ICICI Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd were frozen with immediate effect and the organization was asked to explain why its registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) of 2010 should not be cancelled. Photo: Hindustan Times
Last week, Greenpeace’s seven bank accounts with ICICI Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd were frozen with immediate effect and the organization was asked to explain why its registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) of 2010 should not be cancelled. Photo: Hindustan Times

Greenpeace says govt has cut off access to local donations

NGO claims govt's real aim is to shut down its operations completely, instead of only blocking access to foreign funds

New Delhi: Greenpeace India, which was barred from accepting foreign contributions last week by the home ministry, claimed on Tuesday that the ministry was also blocking it from accepting contributions from Indian donors and wants to shut it down.

Mint couldn’t confirm this independently or reach a home ministry spokesperson on a public holiday but news agency PTI quoted an unnamed home ministry official as saying that his ministry does not have the right to stop domestic contributions to any non-governmental organization (NGO), and that it is not interested in doing so.

He admitted that since the ministry ordered that seven accounts be blocked—two for receiving funds and five others where Greenpeace India “illegally parked" the funds—one or more accounts that receive domestic contributions may have been blocked.

Last week, Greenpeace’s seven bank accounts with ICICI Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd were frozen with immediate effect and the organization was asked to explain why its registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) of 2010 should not be cancelled.

A statement from Greenpeace said the actions of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) indicate that the alleged FCRA violations are a smokescreen for it to shut down the NGO’s entire operations.

The organization claimed it raises a majority of its funding from Indians. In 2014-15, around 20.76 crore was donated to Greenpeace India by 77,768 citizens, accounting for nearly 70% of its income.

“We will follow due process and respond to the MHA’s claims of FCRA violations and take the matter to court. But the government has also blocked our domestic accounts and is now preventing ordinary Indians from supporting our work for clean air, healthy forests, pesticide-free food and a livable environment," said Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India.

“This shows quite clearly that the MHA’s real objective is not to restrict our access to foreign funds, but to shut us down completely. In effect, the government is dismissing the concerns of the hundreds of thousands of Indians that support our campaigns and the 70,000 plus Indians who support us financially," Aich added.

The centre has accused Greenpeace of damaging the country’s economic interests through its campaigns against mining and nuclear projects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has clamped down on many activist groups since he took over last May, including restricting direct transfers of foreign donations. It blames campaigns by non-profit groups for causing delays in major industrial projects.

PTI and AFP contributed to this story.

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