Indian Gov’t Freezes Greenpeace’s Bank Accounts For Being ‘Anti-Development’

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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India has had it with Greenpeace’s fossil fuel activism.

IBN Live reports the Indian government has frozen all seven bank accounts for Greenpeace India, alleging the group misrepresented foreign funds it received that went to protest coal, nuclear power and genetically modified foods.

For months, India’s government has been building a case against Greenpeace, saying the environmental group is pushing an “anti-development” agenda that’s costing the country 2 to 3 percent of its economy every year. The government also barred the group from getting any foreign funding.

In its order, the Indian government said Greenpeace has “”prejudicially affected the economic interest of the state” by underreporting the amount of foreign funds it has received which the group then used to fight fossil fuels, nuclear power and GMOs in the country.

The Indian government also said Greenpeace’s –and other NGO’s — foreign funding was “cleverly disguised” as going towards human rights work when in reality it was being spent on programs to “build a record against India and serve as tools for the strategic foreign policy interests of Western Governments.”

Greenpeace, however, said the government’s actions were meant to smear the group because of its environmental policy positions.

“This is a smear, pure and simple. All of this was put before the Delhi High Court when we brought a case against the Centre, and the court decided in our favour,” Greenpeace India’s Executive Director Samit Aich said in a statement.

“We will continue to work towards clean air, clean water and inclusive development in India because we believe that every citizen is entitled to it,” Aich said. “Our work is supported by people of this country and 70 percent of Greenpeace India’s funds come from Indian donors.”

But Aich’s promise of more activism may be short-sighted. India’s government has been building a case against environmental groups for months now, and Greenpeace as the prime target.

Last year, India’s Intelligence Bureau called Greenpeace “a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence.” The IB said Greenpeace was finding “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy.”

India has tightened controls over Greenpeace’s ability to get funds from abroad, but a court ruled in January that government-held funds should be released. Greenpeace is considering legal options this time around as well.

But India is not the only country to label Greenpeace a threat to its economic security. In 2013, Canada’s Royal Mounted Police said Greenpeace and other environmental groups were a security threat because of their “unlawful” tactics to oppose fossil fuels.

“There is a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels,” the Mounties wrote.

“If violent environmental extremists engage in unlawful activity, it jeopardizes the health and safety of its participants, the general public and the natural environment,” the Mounties reported.

South Korean intelligence officials also labeled Greenpeace’s executive director Kumi Naidoo a national security threat ahead of a G20 meeting in 2010.

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