Four months after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) decided to freeze the accounts of the Greenpeace, the controversial NGO has decided to shut two of its regional offices in India and has asked its staff to leave due to a block on its bank account after accusations of illegal donations.
According to the reports, the centre had cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, (FCRA) and froze foreign funding in 2015. Following that the Enforcement Directorate had accused them of receiving illegal donations while freezing its accounts. Greenpeace has decided to shut down its offices in Delhi and Patna, will also lay-off around 40 staffers. Reportedly, its campaigns and operations in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad were closed down in 2015.
Greenpeace staff across New Delhi and Patna, as well as in Bengaluru, were committed to working as volunteers, the group said. The NGO also said that it will continue its fight against climate change with a renewed zeal. “Due to the freezing of our accounts by the ED, we are not able to afford the staff. Some will be retained as employees while some will be retained as volunteers,” reported The Times of India.
From 300 employees at its peak, Greenpeace India is now down to about 20 staffers including those based at the headquarter in Bengaluru.
The NDA government has tightened scrutiny of non-profit groups over the past four years. It had barred 156 NGOs from receiving foreign donations for six months for failing to comply with FCRA norms. It had also sent a show cause notice to over 1700 NGOs in November for failing to file their annual returns.
Recently, the Amnesty International was also raided by the Enforcement Directorate for violation of norms. Since 2014, nearly 15,000 NGOs have lost their FCRA licenses.