Home/ Politics / Policy/  Greenpeace India staff to work for free, donations surge

Greenpeace India on Thursday claimed it has seen a surge in donations from well-wishers and its own staff after the central government froze its local bank accounts and blocked it from receiving foreign contributions.

Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich on Thursday said that since 9 April, the organization has received donations from 2,800 new donors.

Similarly, in June 2014, when an intelligence report had called it a “threat to national economic security", Greenpeace India had got 4,000 new donors.

At a press conference, Aich released a letter from his staff in which they have promised to work without pay in June. The organization, which employs around 340 people in India, had earlier warned that it will be unable to continue operations with its bank accounts blocked.

As of now, Greenpeace India’s licence to receive foreign funds has been suspended, and its domestic bank accounts remain frozen.

“I hope it will not come to this and my staff and their families avoid this hardship. But if necessary, we are able to keep the basic functions of Greenpeace India running until the end of June. We have got huge number of new donors since 9 April when our accounts were frozen," said Aich. He also revealed that other civil society groups have offered logistical support, such as office space, to Greenpeace India. The environment action group filed a writ petition in Delhi high court after last month’s government clampdown.

The court will hear its petition on 26 May, which marks the first anniversary of the National Democratic Alliance government.

“We’re confident in our case and are hopeful that the court will grant us relief on Tuesday," Aich added.

Aich also invited Greenpeace supporters from around the world to sign an open letter to United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon, urging him to lend his voice in support of free speech in India.

Willy D’Costa of the Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), a national forum of over 700 movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India, supported Greenpeace.

“This unconstitutional clampdown on dissenters in this country must stop. And on behalf of the rest of the civil society organizations, I would say that we are all prepared to take on the government and extend our support to Greenpeace India, even if it means a bout of arbitrary penalties for us as well. We are willing to offer our office and desk space to Greenpeace India’s staff if needed," D’Costa said at the conference.

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Updated: 22 May 2015, 12:51 AM IST
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