New Delhi, Sep 24: Greenpeace India today accused the government of launching a "fresh assault" against it, claiming that one of its bank accounts had been frozen which was in "violation" of the stay granted by Madras High Court.
"Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to address world leaders at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) launched its latest assault on Greenpeace India.
"Greenpeace has just learnt that one of its bank accounts has been frozen again in violation of the stay granted by the Madras High Court.
The court had ordered an eight-week stay on the MHA's earlier decision to cancel Greenpeace FCRA licence," the NGO said in a statement. In a relief to Greenpeace India Society, the Madras High Court on September 16 had granted interim stay for eight weeks on the cancellation of the NGO's registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA).
Greenpeace India's Interim Co-Executive Director Vinuta Gopal said that although the freezing of the bank account suggested a continuing judicial process ahead, the NGO was confident that it was on solid legal ground.
"We can see no justification whatsoever for this latest assault against us. The bank account that has been targeted this time, is the one that receives donations from thousands of our Indian supporters.
"This action of the Ministry is against our constitutional right to free speech and association. Time and again, the courts have upheld our right to exist, our right to campaign and in effect our right to raise questions about government policies. We are confident they will continue to do so," Gopal said.
Noting that India enjoys a fine reputation as the world's largest and most vibrant democracy, she said the MHA actions have placed this reputation under threat as voices of dissent are being "methodically crushed".
She said that the UN Special Rapporteur had recently criticised India's actions in suppressing civil society and 'vilifying" voices of dissent.