ShriRajnath Singh

Minister of Home Affairs Ministry of Home Affairs North Block
Central Secretariat

New Delhi 110 001
Sub: Letter of solidarity from members of civil society – the Government’s actions

against Greenpeace India arean attack on Democracy and Freedom of Speech

The move by the central government to freeze Greenpeace India’s bank accounts and block sources of funds, is a blatant violation of the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association. It also seems to be an attempt to warn civil society that dissent regarding development policies and priorities will not be tolerated, even when these are proving to be ecologically unsustainable and socially unjust. These are dangerous signs for the future of democracy in India.

Specific allegations of legal violation contained in the Ministry of Home Affairs’ notice are aspects Greenpeace India needs to respond to. However, the notice also charges the organization with adversely affecting “public interest” and the “economic interest of the State”. These charges give the impression that Greenpeace India is indulging in anti-national activities, using foreign funds. However, dissenting from the government’s development policies, helping communities who are going to be displaced by these policies to mobilise themselves, and generating public opinion for the protection of the environment can by no stretch of imagination be considered anti- national, or against public interest. Quite the contrary, any reasonable policy of sustainable development (which the government claims to adhere to) will itself put into question quite a few of the mining, power, and other projects currently being promoted. ”

Civil society organisations in India have a long and credible history of standing up for social justice, ecological sustainability, and the rights of the poor. When certain government policies threaten these causes, civil society has a justified ground to resist, and help affected communities fight for their rights. This is in fact part of the fundamental duties enjoined upon citizens by the Constitution of India.

In two recent court judgments involving previous attempts by the government to muzzle Greenpeace India, the democratic principle of dissent has been upheld. In January 2015, the Delhi High Court observed: “Non-Governmental Organizations often take positions, which are contrary to the policies formulated by the Government of the day. That by itself…cannot be used to portray petitioner’s action as being detrimental to national interest.”In March, the Delhi High court observed that “contrarian views held by a section of people…cannot be used to describe such section or class of people as anti-national.” The court also observed that there was nothing on record to suggest that Greenpeace India’s activities “have the potentiality of degrading the economic interest of the country.”

21 April 2015 New Delhi

It is shocking that despite these clear judicial pronouncements, the government has for a third time acted against Greenpeace India. We cannot but conclude that this is an attempt to divert attention from the serious issues that Greenpeace India and many peoples’ movements and NGOs are raising, regarding the need to respect the rights of adivasis and others who depend on the forests, wetlands, coastal areas, and other ecosystems, and the need to move towards policies that are ecologically sustainable and do not cause further climate change. Large-scale mining, such as in the areas that peoples’ movements are active, are a threat to forests and other natural ecosystems, to communities that depend on them including tribal peoples. These and other issues are highlighted by organisationssuch as Greenpeace India, which also generate significant information on the environment, crucial for taking the right decisions regarding sustainable well-being.

It is also shocking that while alleging violations regarding FCRA, the government ordered the blocking of even those accounts where Greenpeace India uses its domestic funding (and it is relevant here to note that the majority of its funds according to its audited accounts are from thousands of Indian individuals). It has even blocked its online donation facility.

The government should immediately take back these illegitimate, unfair, and repressive moves, and provide Greenpeace India a fair opportunity to respond. More generally, it must respect the freedom of speech that all Indian citizens have a constitutional right to, including the right to dissent, upheld by court judgments. The government’sattempts to browbeat civil society will not make the issues of social and environmental injustice disappear. We assert that long as these issues remain unresolved, civil society actors will continue to do all that is necessary towards a just and sustainable society.

  1. AchinVanaik, Retired academic, writer, and anti-nuclear campaigner, Delhi
  2. A. Vaidyanathan, Former Member, Planning Commission
  3. Achyut Yagnik &Ashok Shrimali, SETU: Centre For Social Knowledge And Action,


  4. Harsh Mander, Human rights worker and writer
  5. ShripadDharmadhikary, ManthanAdhyayan Kendra, Pune
  6. Aruna Roy & Nikhil Dey, MazdoorKisan Shakti Sangathan(MKSS), Rajasthan
  7. GautamNavlakha, Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi
  8. Claude Alvares, Former Standing Committee Member MoEF, Goa Foundation, Goa
  9. MedhaPatkar, Narmada BachaoAndolan
  10. Madhuresh Kumar &SuhasKolhekar, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements(NAPM)
  11. Shailesh Rai, Amnesty International India, Bangalore
  12. Ravi Rebbapragada & Ashok Shrimali, Mines Minerals & People (mmP)
  13. VinaySreenivasa, Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Bangalore
  14. Swami Agnivesh, BandhuaMuktiMorcha, Delhi
  15. KavithaKuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture(ASHA)
  16. Rajesh Krishnan, Coalition for a GM Free India
  17. Ashish Kothari and MeenalTatpati, Kalpavriksh, Pune
  18. SujitPatwardhan, Parisar, Pune
  19. MadhuriKrishanaswami, KisanAdivasi Dalit MuktiSangathan, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh
  20. BiswajitMohanty, Conservationist, Bhubaneshwar
  21. BittuSahgal, Conservationist, Mumbai
  22. Justice H. Suresh, Former Judge, Mumbai High Court, Mumbai
  23. Lakshmy Raman, Sanctuary Asia
  24. Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Supreme Court Advocate, Delhi
  25. Tapan Bose, South Asian Forum for Human Rights (SAHFR), Delhi
  26. AneeshThillenkery, EktaParishad
  1. P.M. Bhargava, Supreme Court Nominee to Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)
  2. Leo Saldanha, Environmental Support Group (ESG), Bangalore
  3. SeemaKulkarni and K. J. Joy, SOPPECOM, Pune
  4. RamasamySelvam, Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Federation
  5. ShabnamHashmi, ANHAD, Delhi
  6. KuldipNayar, Snr journalist and columnist, Delhi
  7. PrafulBidwai, Sr Journalist & columnist, Delhi
  8. N.P . Chekkutty, Editor, Thejas daily, Kerala
  9. Neeta Chalke, India Habitat Forum (INHAF), Pune
  10. Pratibha Sharma&Dharmesh Shah, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)
  11. MalatiGadgil, KagadKachPatraKashtakariPanchayat(KKPKP), Pune
  12. AparnaSusarla, SWaCH, Pune
  13. Y ogeshwar Y . Dudhapachare, Green Planet Society,Chandrapur
  14. T.R. Shankar Raman, Snr. Scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF)
  15. ShubhranshuChoudhary, CGNetSwara, Chhattisgarh
  16. RadhikaRammohan&SangeethaSriram, reStore, Chennai
  17. Tarun Joshi, VanpanchayatSangarshMorcha, Nainital
  18. Xavier Dias, Editor, Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR (Mines minerals & RIGHTS)
  19. K. Ramnarayan, Himal Prakriti, Uttarakhand
  20. Malika Virdi, Maati Sangathan, Uttarakhand
  21. S. Faizi, Ecologist / Board member, CBD Alliance, Trivandrum
  22. Neeraj Jain, Lokayat, Pune
  23. Ingrid Srinath, Hivos, Mumbai
  24. V.B. Chandrasekaran, Chatti Mahatma Gandhi Aashramam, Andhra Pradesh
  25. John D’Souza and J. John, Centre for Education and Documentation (CED), Mumbai/Delhi
  26. Prasad Chacko, Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), Ahmedabad
  27. Mansoor Khan, Film-maker, author, climate activist, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu
  28. Parineeta Dandekar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), Pune
  29. SudhaBharadhwaj, Trade Unionist and Human Rights Lawyer, Chattishgarh
  30. RachnaArora, Public Awareness on GM Food
  31. Henri Tiphangne, Chairman, Forum Asia, Madurai
  32. ParanjoyGuhaThakurta, Sr Journalist, Political Commentator, Filmmaker, Delhi
  33. MajaDaruwala, Human rights activist, Delhi
  34. Sethu Das, Founder Chair, Friends of Tibet, Delhi
  35. Sudha Reddy, Eco-Foundation for Sustainable Alternatives, Bangalore
  36. Shankar Sharma, Power policy analyst, Delhi
  37. Paul Divakar, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights(NCDR), Delhi
  38. K.Baburao, Advisor, NAPM, Andhra Pradesh
  39. AnandPatwardhan, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  40. UttamJagirdar, Filmmaker and social activist
  41. Ashok Chowdhury, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP)
  42. SouparnaLahiri, All India Forum of Forest Movements(AIFFM)
  43. ChhayaDatar, Women’s rights expert
  44. Mira Shiva, INES/ Diverse Women for Diversity, Delhi
  45. Joseph Xavier, Indian Social Institute, Delhi
  46. NityanandJayaram, Writer, teacher, social activist, Chennai
  47. UshaSoolapani, Thanal, Kerala
  48. Dunu Roy, Hazards Desk, Delhi
  49. D. Roy Laifungbam, Centre for Organization Research and Education, Manipur
  50. E. Deendayalan, The Other Media, Bangalore
  51. Ravi Nair, South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRD), Delhi
  52. AkilaBalu, Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network, Chennai
  53. Debi Goenka, Executive Trustee, Conservation Action Trust (CAT), Mumbai
  54. Sridhar Lakshmanan, Founder, Basecamp Social Research Foundation
  55. Organic Farmers Market, Chennai
  56. Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu
  57. Balaji Shankar, ThalaanmaiUzhavarIyakkam, Tamil Nadu
  58. V .R. AnanthaSayanan, Founder, TharcharbuIyakkam, Tamil Nadu
  59. J.C. Kumarappa Foundation, Tamil Nadu
  60. Tula India, Chennai
  1. Amit M. & Sreedevi L., Urban Leaves, Mumbai
  2. Uzramma, Handloom supporter, Hyderabad
  3. Blaise Joseph, Freelance artist, Belgaum, Karnataka
  4. Sajeed Khalid, Welfare Party of India, Kerala State committee
  5. S.P . Udaykumar, Activist, Tamil Nadu
  6. Tara Murali, Architect, Chennai
  7. UshaRai, Development journalist, Delhi
  8. AmalaAkkineni, Actress, Hyderabad
  9. LalitaRamdas, Educator and activist, Maharashtra
  10. Jai Sen, Researcher and editor, Delhi
  11. GeethaIyer, Consultant – Education, Suchindram, Tamil Nadu
  12. Gautama G., Educationist, Chennai
  13. NandiniOza, Researcher and activist, Pune
  14. SeethaAnanthasivan, Educationist, Bengaluru
  15. SharadLele, Researcher, Bengaluru
  16. SeemaPurushothaman, Academic, Bengaluru
  17. Benny Kuruvilla, Researcher, Delhi
  18. RohitPrajapati, Environmental Activist, Ahmedabad
  19. AnantPhadke, Health worker and activist, Pune
  20. E. Theophilus, Conservationist, Uttarakhand
  21. AsadRahmani, Conservationist, Mumbai
  22. Palla Trinadha Rao, Advocate, Andhra Pradesh
  23. Rajni Bakshi, Journalist and author, Mumbai
  24. Arindam Biswas, Photographer, trekker, wildlife enthusiast, Kolkata
  25. Lavanya Suresh, Academic, Hyderabad
  26. Bipasha Majumder, Freelance communication consultant, Mumbai
  27. Lisa Fonseca, Organic farmer, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu
  28. Dionne Bunsha, Journalist, Mumbai
  29. Shivaji K. Panikkar, Ambedkar University, Delhi
  30. Rana Roy, Student
  31. Sagar Rabari, Activist, Ahmedabad
  32. B.K. Manish, Tribal rights activist, Raipur
  33. Cedric Prakash, Director, PRASHANT, Ahmedabad
  34. Akhilesh, Academic, Bhubaneshwar
  35. Aseem Shrivastava, Author and economist, Delhi
  36. PalakAggarwal, Sustainable Development Practitioner, Odisha
  37. Mohan HirabaiHiralal, Forest rights activist, Chandrapur
  38. Harsh Kapoor, Human rights activist,
  39. Raj Kishore Das, Retd officer, teacher, Bhubaneshwar
  40. ArunWakhlu, Training and leadership professional, Pune
  41. SatyaRaiNagpaul, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  42. Ghanshyam Shah, Social researcher, Delhi
  43. PersisGinwalla, Ahmedabad
  44. Shishir K. Jha, Academic, IIT Bombay
  45. NagmaniRao, Academic, Pune
  46. Chandrasekaran P., Software engineer, Chennai
  47. Aparna Krishnan, Homemaker, Chennai
  48. Suresh Lakshmipathy, Entrepreneur, Chennai
  49. SandeepPattnaik, Researcher, Bhubaneshwar
  50. HardikaDayalani, Program Coordinator, Hunnarshala Foundation, Uttar Pradesh
  51. SabitaParida, Development professional, Delhi
  52. Mona Mishra, Strategic Planning consultant UNDP, Sexual Health and Rights activist, Delhi
  53. Snehal Shah, Research consultant, Delhi
  54. Krishna Srinivasan, Social worker and Enviro-Legal Researcher, Pune
  55. NeerajBhatnagar, Action Aid, Mumbai
  56. AravindaMaheshwari, Auroville, Tamil Nadu
  57. JasminMaheshwari, Auroville, Tamil Nadu
  58. GajananKhatu, Economist, Mumbai
  59. David Selvaraj, Visthar, Bangalore
  60. Gajanan Khatu, Economist, Mumbai
  1. Shreenivas Khandewale, Agronomist, Nagpur
  2. Bindu Desai, Human rights activist, Mumbai
  3. Balaji Shankar, Organic farmer and writer, Sirkazhi, Tamil Nadu
  4. BalachanderSwaminathan, Software professional, Tamil Nadu
  5. ShashankKela, Writer, Chennai
  6. Subhayu Mishra, Member, Wild Orissa, Mumbai
  7. Atul Gupta, Filmmaker, Dehradun
  8. Venkat T., Researcher, Chennai
  9. Suhas Paranjape, Water specialist, Pune
  10. Louis Menezes
  11. Joe Athialy, Activist, New Delhi
  12. AvinDeen, Conservationist, Bengaluru
  13. AnandaVadivelu, Institutional economist, Delhi
  14. G. Chandrasekhar, Cardiac surgeon and sustainable farmer
  15. SumitraPurkayastha, Researcher, Kolkata
  16. Yatish Mehta, Businessman and activist, Mumbai
  17. Sahba Fatima, Jr. consultant, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
  18. G. Baskaran, Ravi Kunjwal, Amritanshu Prasad, Rahul Siddharthan, SitabhraSinha, V.S. Sunder,

    & T. Vinod Kumar, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai

  19. T.S. VijayaRaghavan, Advocate, Chennai
  20. V.R. AnanthaSayanan, Activist, Chennai
  21. VineethaBambasala, Environmentalist, Bengaluru
  22. N.D. Hari Dass
  23. Kiran Seth, Academic & founder, SPICMACAY, Delhi
  24. Roy Jacob, Farmer, Kerala
  25. Meera Rajesh, IT Consultant & environmentalist, Bengaluru
  26. Walter Mendoza, Pune
  27. RevaDandage, Educator, Udaipur
  28. ShobanaRamkumar, Teacher, Chennai
  29. J.R. Ganesh Babu, Chennai
  30. Chithra V., Teacher, Chennai
  31. Daya Lakshmi, Chennai
  32. S. Annapoorni, Homemaker, Chennai
  33. D.W. Karuna, Researcher, Chennai
  34. Satyarupa Shekhar, Researcher, Chennai
  35. MahiPuri, Wildlife researcher, Bengaluru
  36. Narasimha Reddy Donthi, Hyderabad

Address for correspondence: MeenalTatpati, [email protected]

Copy to:ShriL.C. Goyal, Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block,

Central Secretariat, New Delhi 110 001