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After Greenpeace, govt may act against more NGOs

india Updated: Jun 20, 2014 00:46 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

The government is set to act against some anti-genetically modified (GM) NGOs named in the IB report, a day after it cracked down on foreign funding received by Greenpeace.

Official sources said Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign and Kavita Kuruganti of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) – all named in the Intelligence Bureau report – are next in line for prohibition of foreign funding.

Home ministry sources said it was examining whether these organisations also violated norms of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that say foreign funds can only be used for the purposes they had been provided. “Funds meant for education cannot be used for advocacy,” a government functionary said.

Read:NGOs under govt scanner following IB warning

A second leaked IB report on Wednesday said that opposition against mining and GM was a “significant threat to national economic activity”.

The home ministry had earlier revoked the permission to receive foreign funds of Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), an organisation associated with ASHA. INSAF had filed a petition against the order in the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the move, Kurunganti told HT that the government should investigate the foreign hand behind the IB report.

The document had also named Aruna Rodrigues and Prashant Bhushan for filing PILs in the Supreme Court against GM crops. Rodrigues called the IB report an insult to Parliamentarians who had recommended a moratorium on GM crops. Bhushan said that the government will use the IB report to create a public opinion against organizations fighting destructive projects.

Read:NGOs slam IB report, rubbishes allegations of 'threat'

On Wednesday, the home ministry had asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to not allow the flow of funds into Greenpeace India from two international organizations — Greenpeace International and ClimateWorks Foundation — without its prior approval. The IB report had alleged that 97% of Greenpeace India’s Rs 45 crore foreign funding in the last seven years had come from these two organizations to campaign against coal block allocations countrywide.

The report, however, didn’t specify if Greenpeace had violated provisions of the FCRA, under which the ministry issued instructions to RBI. It only alleged that the NGO is assisted by US-based anti-coal organizations and had carried out protests at “iconic” backdrops for publicity.

Greenpeace India’s executive director Samit Aich said the ministry action was part of its strategy to discredit the organisation and thereby remove obstacles for pushing fast clearances. “Discrediting Greenpeace will not save the world from climate change,” he added.

Ministry officials, however, stressed that the move didn’t bar Greenpeace from receiving foreign funds, citing the case of Netherlands-based NGO Cordaid, which received funds despite being on a prior-approval list. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had also been put under the prior-permission category earlier, officials added.