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India cut funds Greenpeace !

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Authorities in India have cracked down on Greenpeace, banning its India branch from receiving funds from abroad. This follows a series of crackdowns by the Indian government against environmental and developmental organizations. This follows a strong feeling in India that non-government organizations, aided and abetted by western governments, are working in sync to prevent the Indian economy from growing fast.

Narendra Modi government has so far cancelled the foreign funding licenses for over 9000 NGOs. Greenpeace in particular has been accused of promoting a liberal Western agenda by campaigning against mining and nuclear projects, which the government felt was hurting the nation’s GDP growth.

This move could hamper Greenpeace’s activities in India. Greenpeace is now expected to challenge the government’s order in court. The government claims that Greenpeace India violated rules on foreign funding, and withheld important financial information, and damaged the India’s economic interests.

Vinuta Gopal, a Greenpeace India official said, the move was “a desperate attempt to get us to cease our work” and “yet another attempt to silence criticism.”

Many other leading NGOs such the Ford Foundation, a top American philanthropic agency, as well as the Christian charity Caritas – have been placed on a watch-list which requires every dollar of foreign donations to be preapproved by the Indian home ministry.

Many Indians share deep suspicion of foreign NGOs believing that they are anti-India and are trying to restrict their economic growth. In fact, secret report by the country’s top intelligence agency warned that any delays to India’s key development projects as sought by Greenpeace and other NGOs could effectively take away up to 3%  off India’s annual growth rate.

Greenpeace officials put up a show of defiance, saying, “this latest melodrama. Since the majority of our funding comes from Indian citizens, most of our work can indeed continue. We are confident that people will show they are ready to fight back in style, and send a clear message to those in power: you just can’t muzzle dissent in a democracy.”

Sumit Ganguly, director of the Centre on American and Global Security at Indiana University in Bloomington defended Greenpeace, saying,  “These tactics are more reminiscent of the Soviet Union or current day People’s Republic of China rather than a country that takes pride in its democratic institutions and its commitment to civil liberties and personal freedoms. What’s the point of being a liberal democracy if you are so threatened by a foundation that spends a few million dollars in your country?”

It is clear that these NGOs may have the support of intellectuals and western liberal organizations, but the average Indian has a very negative view of them. In fact, most Indians have been happy that these “5 star activists” as they are called in India, have been taught a lesson.  While the Narendra Modi government may get a lot of criticism in the West for taking action against foreign funded NGOs, in India, this move has found a lot of support among the public.

Author: Raghav Hegde – India

Source photo: dnaindia

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