NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of Greenpeace India.
The MHA had suspended its FCRA licence for six months on April 9 and froze all its accounts alleging that the NGO misused foreign funding for political activities that prejudicially affected the country’s public and economic interests. The six-month suspension ends on September 8.
According to sources, the government had been examining the next course of action since last week.
A statement issued by Greenpeace India said, “Our legal team has learnt that the MHA has notified the Delhi High Court that Greenpeace’s FCRA registration has been cancelled. This news comes just a day before a scheduled hearing at the Delhi High Court, which was examining the merits of the MHA’s arbitrary action.”
Vinuta Gopal, interim co-executive director of Greenpeace India, said, “The cancelling of our FCRA registration is the government’s latest move in a relentless onslaught against the community’s right to dissent.”
The MHA had, however, maintained that Greenpeace India was found violating the FCRA by engaging in political activities to influence and lobby for the formulation of policies of its liking. The MHA had said that Greenpeace activists got involved in agitation and they also invited foreign activists such as Emma Rachel Tranquility Gibson (of the UK) for handling conflict, team dynamics, prioritisation and difficult decisions and her given task was ‘Election Project’ as mentioned in the terms of reference of her job.
“Greenpeace activists are involved in agitations against various developmental projects by using foreign contribution, which is meant for various environmental projects and do nothing for the environment, while hurting our national interests,” the MHA dossier on Greenpeace had stated.
The MHA had said that Greenpeace funded legal costs, not only for seeking bail, but also for filing writ petitions of an Indian NGO and activists of the association, violating the Section 8 (1) (a) of the FCRA.
The NDA Government has also banned 13 foreign activists of Greenpeace International, including nine from the UK and three from the US, from entering India. According to the MHA, all of them have been blacklisted as their activities were found to be in violation of visa rules and they were found to be training, motivating and organising Greenpeace India’s activists to create field level protests near thermal plant and coal mine locations, apart from other activities that would damage India’s energy security interests.