Five months after it suspended its licence to receive foreign donations, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India on 3 September.
The measure under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), means that the NGO, part of an international network by the same name, would not be able to receive any kind of foreign donations from now on. According to media reports the decision came in the wake of "prejudicially affecting the public interest and economic interest of the state," which violates the conditions of grant of registration.
The order issued on 2 September comes after the NGO was given a 180-day notice to tender a reply to the MHA. Vinuta Gopal, interim co-Executive Director of Greenpeace India said the organisation will continue its work and also highlight the nationwide 'crackdown on civil liberties'.
Gopal, interim co-Executive Director of Greenpeace India said that the cancellation of the organisation's FCRA registration was the "government's latest move in a relentless onslaught against the community's right to dissent.
"It is yet another attempt to silence campaigns for a more sustainable future and transparency in public processes."
On April 10, the government had suspended Greenpeace India's licence to receive foreign donations, citing reasons such as "talks" with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), attempts to "delay and place illegal obstructions to India's energy plans", "campaigning, protesting and lobbying against government of India's policies", an anti-nuclear "full page colour advertisement in The Hindu with a sarcasm-laced header".
In its report, the government also mentioned a campaign against an Indian tea brand, which Greenpeace claimed contained hazardous pesticides.
Though the MHA did not come up with an official circular saying the NGO's registration had been cancelled, it informed the Delhi High Court about the order in an affidavit filed on Thursday. Greenpeace India had petitioned the High Court that an amount of Rs. 7 crore be unblocked by the government.
The court had on May 27 allowed Greenpeace to use two of its accounts for the purpose of receiving and utilising fresh domestic donations for its day-to-day functioning.
Gopal said the news of the cancellation comes just a day before a scheduled hearing at the Delhi High Court that was examining the merits of the MHA's 'arbitrary action'.
"Cutting access to our foreign funding may be a desperate attempt to get us to cease our work, but the MHA probably didn't count on our having an amazing network of volunteers and supporters who have helped us continue our work despite the government crackdown. Since the majority of our funding comes from Indian citizens, most of our work can indeed continue," she said.