New Delhi: Members of civil society came together to condemn the NDA government's recent crackdown on organisations like Greenpeace India. Releasing a protest letter that over 180 organisations and citizens have today sent to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the statement declared the crackdown as 'shameful' in a country that has a history of standing up for social justice, ecological sustainability, and the rights of the poor.
"It is shocking that despite clear judicial pronouncements, the government has for a third time acted against Greenpeace India. We cannot but conclude that this is an attempt to divert attention from the serious issues that Greenpeace India and many peoples' movements and NGOs are raising, regarding the need to respect the rights of adivasis and others, who depend on the forests, wetlands, coastal areas, and other ecosystems, and the need to move towards policies that are ecologically sustainable and do not cause further climate change," the letter states.
Responding to a new development of the MHA's alleged request to the Revenue Department to revoke the NGO's charity status and society registration, Samit Aich, executive Director, Greenpeace India called it an "orchestrated attack on free speech, Constitutional rights and India's democratic fabric."
"The new line of attack questioning the charity status of Greenpeace has no more justification than blocking foreign funding or offloading Priya Pillai. Greenpeace India has nothing to hide and will continue to campaign for a sustainable and just future for Indians. Such attempts of clampdown only make us stronger," he said.
Civil society activists including Medha Patkar, Achin Vanaik, Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Bittu Sehgal, Ashish Kothari, Lalita Ramdas and many others, called upon the government to immediately stop its illegitimate and repressive moves, and respect the freedom of speech that all Indian citizens have a constitutional right to.