“This is where I ask you to pick a side,” the email sent to individuals for raising funds said, asking people to choose between being bullied to silence by the government or stand for the cause of development that is sustainable.
Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India, tried to downplay the fund-raising campaign saying they have been raising funds to run its campaign against allocation of coal blocks on Mahan forest in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Himanshu Thakkar of South Asian Network for Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) termed the IB report as strange. “Advocacy or raising an alternative voice to the government in a democratic setup cannot be branded as anti-national. If it is, please book us for sedition,” he said.
Other civil society groups had similarly angry reactions. Nikhil Dey of NCPRI said the report showed that the IB considered curtailing ‘freedom of speech’ as a way forward for economic growth.
Meanwhile, home minister Rajnath Singh, to whom the IB reports, feigned ignorance about the report. His colleague and environment minister Prakash Javadekar too had a similar reply. “I have not seen the report. I will react only after I study it,” he said.