New Delhi, April 11: Greenpeace India on Saturday issued a point by point rebuttal of charges made against it by the government and said it would not only challenge the order in courts but also continue to campaign fearlessly.
“This (freezing of accounts) means that GP India’s permission to receive money from overseas is currently suspended. It does not mean that GP India itself has been shut down or will have to shut down. GP India gets nearly 70 percent of its income from domestic dotions and will continue to operate on those funds even as it fights the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) suspension,” said the environmental watchdog in a statement.
The government on Thursday announced it has “temporarily” suspended the registration of Greenpeace India under the foreign contributions law for “under-reporting” such funding and conducting transactions in such funds without informing the authorities as required by the law. Along with the 180-day suspension, the ministry of home affairs froze all seven bank accounts of the organisation and served it a show-cause notice seeking an explation why its licence should not be cancelled. Greenpeace India said it believed this is an escalation of the intimidation campaign that started with a “leaked” Intelligence Bureau report in June last year. “It is the government using strongarm tactics to clamp down on dissenting voices in civil society. We have been vindicated in our position more than once in the courts. In fact, the Delhi High Court held that the actions of the home ministry in the Priya Pillai case were arbitrary and the charges against Greenpeace India were misconceived,” a statement from Greenpeace said. “We will not only challenge the ministry of home affairs in courts, but also continue to campaign fearlessly on the issues we work on,” it said. Greenpeace claimed that some of its domestic accounts have been frozen as well. It also denied the allegation that it had sponsored a Channel 4 (Britain) jourlist’s visit to the Mahan forests in Madhya Pradesh. “This is one of the many lies in the home ministry report. In a response to Greenpeace, Hugo Ward, director of the programme from Channel 4, denied the allegation,” the statement said. On high salaries being paid to certain senior employees, it said: “We believe that good talent should also be able to work on issues of environment and social justice, and we like to make this possible.” “However, we ensure that there is parity between the amount paid to the executive director and the lowest paid employee in the organisation.” Reacting to charges of under-reporting of foreign contributions, the organisation said there was a typographical error that was made in a hard copy submitted and “we have admitted to it”. The home ministry had alleged that the opening balance of one account for 2008-2009, which was reported as nil in the auditor’s certificate was actually Rs.6,60,31,783. (IANS)