Greenpeace India loses licence to receive foreign funds

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Wednesday cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), making it ineligible for receiving any foreign contribution.

The move, which comes five months after the government suspended the NGO's licence to receive foreign donations, means that it would not be able to receive any kind of contributions.

The order issued on 2 September comes after the NGO was given a 180-day notice to tender a reply to the MHA.

Sources said the decision came in the wake of the international network's operations ''prejudicially affecting the public interest and economic interest of the state,'' which violates the conditions of grant of registration.

Contributions from abroad constitute up to 30 per cent of Greenpeace's overall funds for operations.

Greenpeace on Friday termed the move as part of "relentless onslaught" on the freedom and said those in power cannot "muzzle" dissent in a democracy.

"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.

"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, adding that the organisation will continue its work and also highlight the nationwide 'crackdown on civil liberties'.

"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.

Greenpeace had moved court against government action, but the environment group said that although the court hearing was originally scheduled for Friday, it has been deferred to 17 September.

The NGO said it has launched a new campaign to "reclaim freedom of speech" by recreating Bollywood movie posters highlighting real life stories.