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Greenpeace India Lives to Fight One More Month With Staff Ready to Give Up Pay

Open letter to Ban Ki-moon asks for UN chief’s solidarity with India’s civil society

NEW DELHI - Greenpeace India today announced that it has seen a surge in support from civil society allies, new members and its own staff which will allow the organisation to keep ‘skeleton functions’ running for one more month if necessary.

At a press conference today, Executive Director Samit Aich read out an emotional letter written by his staff, who have pledged to continue work without pay for the month of June if needed.

He also revealed that other civil society groups have offered financial and practical support to keep the organisation running for the next few weeks only, as it challenges in court an attempt by the Indian Home Minister’s to shut it down.

At the event, Samit Aich said: “Over the past few weeks we have seen a huge surge in support for Greenpeace India. I am deeply humbled by the offers we have received from our allies in civil society, as well as our many thousands of supporters across the country.

“Today my staff sent me a very moving letter in which they pledged to work without pay for one month. I hope it will not come to this and my staff and their families will not suffer. But if necessary, we are able to keep the most basic operations of Greenpeace India running in June.”

The letter from staff can be viewed here.

Samit Aich also invited Greenpeace supporters from around the world to sign an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, urging him to lend his voice in support of free speech in India. In an email to supporters, Aich writes: “I’m asking for thousands of people around the world to join me in standing up for Greenpeace India and speaking up for freedom.”

Next Tuesday, 26th May, the Delhi High Court will hear Greenpeace India’s writ petition, which challenged the block on its bank accounts and the suspension of its license to receive international contributions. Greenpeace India says it believes in the Indian judicial system and is hoping for a positive outcome.

A previous attempt by the home minister to block international funding to Greenpeace India was overturned by the High Court in January for being ‘arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional.’

Aich continued: “We are confident in our case and are hopeful that the court will grant us relief on Tuesday. But the wheels of justice can take time, and we need to make sure we can keep basic campaigns running for the next few weeks. This plan enables us to do what’s necessary to survive.”

Also attending the press conference in support of Greenpeace India was Willy D’Costa from Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF). He said:

“This unconstitutional clampdown on dissenters in this country must stop. And on behalf of the rest of the civil society organisations, I would say that we are all prepared to take on the government and extend our support to Greenpeace India, even if it means a bout of arbitrary penalties for us as well. We are willing to offer our office and desk space with Greenpeace India’s staff if needed.”


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