Greenpeace Says Attempt To Muzzle Dissent As Enforcement Directorate Raids Offices

Greenpeace said that every rupee donated to it, is by ecologically conscious people in India


Not for the first time, the global environmental NGO, Greenpeace, is facing the heat from the Indian government. In a move that the organisation has called an effort to “muzzle democratic dissent”, the Enforcement Directorate has conducted searches in its offices in Bengaluru and other establishments associated with it.

The agency, which probes financial crimes, suspects that the environmental NGO is receiving foreign funding. However, Greenpeace has denied the charges, stating that it is entirely funded domestically.

After the visit by Enforcement Directorate officials last Friday, Greenpeace released a statement.

The statement said, “Orchestrated attempts to muzzle Greenpeace India’s voice that began in 2014 has surfaced yet again. Greenpeace India’s bank accounts have been arbitrarily frozen and once again donations from thousands of Indian supporters stands blocked (sic). Greenpeace India unequivocally asserts that the organisation is funded by hundreds of individual citizens of India. Not a single Rupee is from a foreign source.”

Curiously, the statement appears to have been taken down as the link to it on the Greenpeace website is now broken.

Later on Thursday, the organisation released another statement titled ‘Greenpeace India – Fearlessly Indian and Fearlessly Independent’. Denying allegations that Greenpeace is receiving foreign funds, the statement said that it is “wholly funded by local citizens of India”.    

“Every rupee that goes into Greenpeace India’s environmental work is a donation made by ecologically conscious people in the country,” Greenpeace said.

“This seems to be part of a larger design to muzzle democratic dissent in the country. We do not have anything to hide and are ready to provide the government authorities with financial details as required.

At the same time we will reserve the right to constitutionally challenge attempts to malign our very existence as an independent environmental organisation,” the statement added.

This is only the latest incident in Greenpeace’s tussle with the government. In 2015, Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was prevented from leaving India for a meeting in the United Kingdom. The same year, the government froze several of Greenpeace’s bank accounts and later went on to cancel its license to receive international funds.

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