India government trying to shut us down: Greenpeace

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Greenpeace India accused the government Tuesday of preventing local donors from funding its activities, saying the move was aimed at shutting down its operations in the country.

The latest allegation comes less than a week after the right-wing government suspended the environmental watchdog's foreign funding licence and blocked several of its bank accounts, citing violations of rules governing international financial transactions.

Following the ban, Greenpeace said, even many donors in India were unable to deposit money into the group's local accounts.

It said it suspected they had been blocked by the government.

The group described the fresh step as an all-out attack by the government to "suppress democracy and silence those with an alternative vision of development".

"The government has also blocked our domestic accounts and is now preventing ordinary Indians from supporting our work for clean air, healthy forests, pesticide-free food and a liveable environment," Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India, said in a statement. "This shows quite clearly that the MHA's (Ministry of Home Affairs) real objective is not to restrict our access to foreign funds, but to shut us down completely."

Aich said the campaign group received 70 percent of its funding from Indian donors living in the country.

India has accused Greenpeace of damaging the country's economic interests through its campaigns against mining and nuclear projects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has clamped down on many activist groups since he took over last May, including restricting direct transfers of foreign donations. It blames campaigns by non-profit groups for causing delays in major industrial projects.

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