Greenpeace to challenge “blocking” of foreign funds

High Court order on fund release has been complied with: Home Ministry

Updated - April 03, 2016 02:20 am IST

Published - April 09, 2015 02:04 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Greenpeace India on Wednesday said it would challenge the Union Home Ministry's action of again blocking its access to foreign funds from Greenpeace International despite a recent Delhi High Court order directing release of foreign contributions to the non-government organisation.

“The MHA has recently again sought to block Greenpeace India’s access to funds with €1,48,608 transferred on March 23 being put on hold. Greenpeace is seeking legal advice in the matter, as the Delhi High Court in January ordered that Greenpeace India be allowed to access funds sent by Greenpeace International,” said an NGO statement on Wednesday.

Stating that the court order had been complied with, an MHA official said the directive only pertained to defreezing of the NGO's account. “The court order did not relate to the MHA's ban on Greenpeace International or Climate Work Foundation's funding,” said the official.

Last June, the Ministry directed the Reserve Bank of India that all foreign contributions, including those to Greenpeace India, originating from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation be kept on hold until individual clearances were obtained from the Ministry on each transaction.

A Greenpeace spokesperson confirmed that foreign funds blocked in June had been released to the organisation after the court order.

Attempt to silence criticism

Describing the MHA's move as “an attempt to silence criticism and dissent”, Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich said: “Even as the MHA tries to smear us as ‘anti-national’, it is heartening to know that thousands of Indians reject their view, and are voicing their disagreement with their wallets.”

According to the NGO, in the last financial year [unaudited figures], it received 23 per cent funding from Greenpeace International, 9 per cent from Bertha Foundation and 68 per cent from individuals in India.

The government has accused the NGO of obstructing developmental works, particularly coal-fired power projects and mining activities in different parts of the country.

“Greenpeace India added 30,746 new supporters, taking its tally of financial supporters within India to 77,768. In all, the group received Rs.30.36 crore, of which Rs.20.76 crore was given by supporters within India. The balance of Rs.9.61 crore was received via foreign donations largely from Greenpeace International and Bertha Foundation,” said the NGO.

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