Foreign funding of NGOs: Intelligence Bureau report bid to stifle dissent, activists say
TNN | Jun 14, 2014, 05.16 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Civil society activists named in the leaked intelligence report have described the charges against them as a “figment of the IB’s imagination”, while alleging that the document was deliberately leaked to discredit opposition and set the stage for the government to fast-track environmental clearances without following due process.
Also joining in the conference through a video-link was anti-nuclear activist and Aam Aadmi Party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Kanyakumari, S P Udayakumar, who said he was talking to his lawyer on taking legal action against the IB. “Both me and my family feel threatened after the misleading IB report was leaked,” he said.
The report claims Udayakumar, who was active in the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant, had “deep and growing connections with US and German entities”. It goes on to say that the activist received an “unsolicited contract” from an Ohio State University institute through which he got thousands of dollar from the US for filing fortnightly reports.
Rubbishing the charges, Udayakumar said he never filed any fortnightly reports. “I worked at the university institute as a people’s fellow and was paid for my work, which had nothing to do with nuclear energy,” he said.
“It’s an attempt to discredit work and research that goes against the government. The report seeks to suggest that there’s a cabal of activists, working in secret or semi-secret, against India’s development,” said anti-nuclear activist Achin Vanaik, refuting the allegations.
Besides Vanaik, among those who addressed mediapersons were Praful Bidwai and Admiral Ramdas. All three are described in the secret June 3 IB report, ‘NGO activism against development projects in India’, as “eminent persons” who guide “superior network of numerous pan-India organizations”.
Citing such instances, Bidwai said the report was seeking to hold people “guilty by association”. “IB is spinning conspiracy theory without any basis,” he said.
In a statement, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties described the IB report as an attempt to “intimidate, slander, throttle and terrorize the voice of various citizens’ groups, NGOs and individuals,” who raise issues relating to human right violations.