Greenpeace India: Undaunted, undefeated and unstoppable

Posted by Greenpeace UK — 23 July 2015 at 5:36pm - Comments
Activists hold a giant aerial banner saying 'You can't muzzle dissent!'
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace

This is a guest post by Vinuta Gopal, who is the interim Co-Executive Director at Greenpeace India.

Greenpeace India ought to be finished by now. We’ve had our accounts frozen, our reputation smeared and our staff banned from travel. Mr. Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Home Affairs has done everything he can to shut down our offices, harass our staff and force us to close. But we’re still here.

Wondering why? Because we’re still working for cleaner air, safe food and cheap, clean energy for all Indians. Thousands of people have helped us by donating time, ideas or money. Our staff have offered to work for free, while other groups have offered us desk space and even train tickets to keep our work alive. And at the end of May, we won temporary relief in the courts, a financial lifeline that will enable us to restart our campaigns.

But despite the court judgment, the attack on our rights of freedom of speech, and freedom of association resumed within a week, with a new investigation into our legal registration as an Indian society.

This morning, a media article cited Home Ministry sources referring to a notice from the registrar of societies in Tamil Nadu threatening the cancellation of Greenpeace India Society’s registration over an alleged breach of the state government’s regulations around registered societies. Greenpeace India has today issued a statement refuting these allegations.

Among the various allegations listed in that article, it was also said that Greenpeace India had not yet responded to the Registrar.

This is false.

So once again - in the spirit of transparency - here is the correspondence between Greenpeace India and the relevant authorities. You can decide the truth of the matter for yourselves:

Despite having been under constant attack from the Ministry of Home Affairs for over a year, we have found relief in the judicial process, and we have tremendous respect for the courts that have repeatedly upheld our rights to speak out on issues that matter to ordinary Indians. Now, we are faced with a new threat from the registrar of societies in Tamil Nadu - a threat that appears to be on direction from the Ministry of Home Affairs - and we will turn to the courts again.

Greenpeace India has followed due process, preparing our paperwork and waiting for an appropriate opportunity to present our case in court. We are taking legal counsel and, as per correct protocol, will challenge these malicious allegations from the Tamil Nadu registrar in court. Only when the case has been accepted, we will be able to share more details.

Today’s malicious charges have once again proved a distraction from the very real projects we need to run to promote solar powered street lights, to reduce dangerous levels of air pollution, to protect India’s forests and to campaign for safe food and ecological agriculture.

The Ministry of Home Affairs continues with its pursuit of trying to persecute us with paperwork, forcing us to respond to ridiculous charges from every quarter, apparently hoping to prevent us from campaigning for a better India for everyone.

But it will fail. Greenpeace India cannot be silenced.

In fact, there are 101 things that Greenpeace India would rather be doing, than continuously having to defend ourselves in court. We’d like your help in pulling together a list that we’ll send to Rajnath Singh – please post your ideas / thoughts in comments below. Keep them positive and non-violent.

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