Friday, June 13, 2014

IB report to Prime Minister Modi aimed at "intimidating, slandering, throttling, terrorizing" dissent

By Our Representative
The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has asked the Government of India not to criminalize dissent in the guise of Intelligence Bureau (IB) report on non-government organizations (NGOs), who it has claimed are seeking to “retard” the country’s growth because they raise people’s issues. Submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the IB report, according to the PUCL, India’s premier human rights organization, has done nothing but to “intimidate, slander, throttle and terrorize the voice of various citizens' groups, NGOs and individuals.”
Pointing out that this is especially serious, because this is being against those who raise “people's issues relating to the violations of their fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Indian constitution”, and express “concern over violation of rights relating to people’s life, livelihood and well being”, the PUCL, in a statement, has said, the effort is to belittle “individuals, citizens, groups, funded NGOs and non-funded mass movements”. The statement has been signed by Dr V. Suresh, national general secretary, and Prof Prabhakar Sinha, national president, PUCL.
Pointing out that the groups are target of attack are those that “question the displacement of large populations and destruction of environment by mega projects, risk to human life and survival posed by nuclear reactors, mining of radioactive minerals like uranium”, the PUCL has said, the national economic security is actually under threaten from “the indiscriminate use of dirty sources of energy” by these corporates.
In actuality, the PUCL has said, the economic growth process, pursued by these corporates “has already resulted in increasing economic vulnerability, social marginalisation and insecurity of the common citizen, threatened by the loss of their lives and livelihood, displacement from their habitats, their resultant pauperisation and the destruction of their environment”.
As for the IB report’s contention that “citizens opposing development projects are agents of western powers”, the PUCL underlines, “This is based on a cruel and perverse logic.” This is being said by a government “which is inviting foreign corporate investment from rich western countries”, it says, adding, the investment being made in mega projects by these foreign corporates is actually leading to “economic stagnation” with “harmful consequences to Indians.”
“Environmental degradation is a real concern and the poor of this country bear the brunt of its ill effects – rising temperatures, poor rains, lack of safe drinking water and exposure to pollution resulting in not only chronic illnesses among the living but also affecting the unborn. All that NGOs are doing is reminding the government of its commitments under the Rio Convention, Agenda 21 and other UN Declarations”, the PUCL says.
It adds, “The organizations and the individuals who oppose indiscriminate plundering and destruction of natural resources are only fulfilling their fundamental duties under Article 51 A of the constitution which mandates that ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures’.”
Calling the bogey of foreign funding unfair and unjust, the PUCL says, “The IB and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) know that all NGOs who receive funds from foreign sources are subjected to the strict provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 where clearances are given by the home department and subjected to periodic stringent audits by the central government agencies.”
Saying that “all organisations are duty bound to be held accountable under the law if they violate laws and regulations governing their funding”, the PUCL has said, “Instead of initiating prosecutions against organisations found to be breaking the law, hurling the kind of scurrilous insinuation resorted to by the government as made in the leaked intelligence report, is nothing but an attempt to throttle dissent from the dominant discourse on development.”
The PUCL concludes, “We only hope that this intelligence report is not a precursor to a more sinister anti democratic and repressive crackdown by the new government on dissent and other human and democratic rights of the people to further a corporate-led economic agenda.”
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For IB report see following reports:

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