Greenpeace launches new campaign to reclaim freedom of speech

PTI
Published Sep 4, 2015, 10:30 pm IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 11:01 pm IST
Government on Thursday cancelled the NGO's registration under FCRA
Representational Image.
 Representational Image.

New Delhi: A day after government cancelled its registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA), Greenpeace on Friday launched a new campaign to reclaim freedom of speech by recreating Bollywood movie posters highlighting real life stories and asserted that its fight for environment will go on "undeterred".

The NGO said that cancellation of FCRA registration is part of the government's "relentless onslaught" against the right to speak up and demanded a healthy environment and transparency in public processes and asserted that those in power cannot "muzzle" dissent in a democracy.

 

"The NGO launched a new online campaign recreating Bollywood movie posters to highlight real life stories about reclaiming freedom of speech," it said in a statement and reiterated its commitment to continue campaigns with the support of Indian donors.

The government has cancelled the NGO's registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) for allegedly working against the country's economic progress. This means that the NGO will not be able to receive from abroad the funds, which are upto 30 per cent of its overall cost of its operations.

 

"The cancelling of our FCRA registration is part of the government's relentless onslaught against the right of all Indians to speak up and demand a healthy environment, good governance, and transparency in public processes," said Vinuta Gopal, interim co-Executive Director of Greenpeace India.

She said that while the NGO's continued existence has been no less dramatic than the best of Bollywood with twists and turns every day, its story is far from unique.

"Similar clampdowns have been seen all across the country but we are confident that people will join our campaign and send a clear message to those in power - you can't muzzle dissent in a democracy," she said.

 

The environment NGO said that although the court hearing was originally scheduled for today, it has been deferred to the September 17.

"Cancelling our ability to receive foreign money? That changes nothing. We have enough support from thousands of ordinary Indians to continue our work," said Nirmala Karunan, Political Advisor, Greenpeace India.

"It’s ridiculous to see the government trying every pressure tactic they can get away with but the support for Greenpeace only increases," she added.

The NGO had on Thursday announced that undeterred by the government's cancellation of FCRA license, it will launch a new campaign to highlight nationwide crackdown on civil liberties. Today the NGo said that its staff and volunteers have recreated nine iconic Bollywood film posters including 'Swades, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and 3 Idiots'.

 

Members of the Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, a people's movement in Madhya Pradesh, have also joined in showcasing their hard-won battle to save their forest by recreating the Aamir Khan starrer 'Lagaan'.

The online protest is open to public participation, particularly from other civil society groups facing challenges similar to Greenpeace, it said. The NGO alleged that over the past year, its accounts were frozen, its reputation smeared and staff banned from travel both into and out of the country.

It further alleged that government agencies have done everything they could to shut down Greenpeace offices, harass its staff and force the organisation to end its operations in India but still it remains stronger than ever.

 

"Despite the Home Ministry's many efforts over the last year, and in good Bollywood tradition, Greenpeace is still alive. The good guys live to fight another day because we are right and because we are fighting the good fight.

"Our campaigns for a healthier environment and a more sustainable future for all will continue undeterred because in life as in art, the show must go on," said Vinuta Gopal.

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