Skip to main content

Attack on climate activists is Indian nationalist xenophobia, may "undermine" country's stance at Paris meet: ICN

By Our Representative
One of the world's prestigious climate change e-journal, "Inside Climate News" (ICN), has said that attacks on civil society groups that campaign for climate change will undermine "India's global standing, the stability of its democracy and its role in upcoming climate talks", which take place Paris this December. The e-journal is the third web-based news organization to win the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, which have gone to ProPublica and Huffington Post.
In a detailed analysis on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's crackdown, titled "What's Behind India's Crackdown on Social Justice & Climate Activists?", writer Katherine Bagley says, India recently "ramped up attacks on environmental and development organizations that work on climate, clean energy and sustainability issues" "just seven months ahead of international climate treaty talks in Paris in December."
Inspired the fear that foreign interests are trying to "curb the nation's economic growth", Bagley says India shouldn't forget that it is "the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, behind China and the United States, and home to millions of the world's people most vulnerable to global warming impacts such as flooding, extreme heat and sea level rise."
While pointing out that India will clearly "play a crucial role in the negotiations" at the Paris negotiations, with Modi already stressing in recent international speeches that his nation "must take a leadership role in the 'pressing global problem' of climate change", Bagley says, all this has come side by side with the "world’s largest democracy" freezing "bank accounts", restricting "international donations, and preventing climate activists "from traveling abroad."
It warns, quoting environmentalists, the Modi administration's "attacks" on the very civil society groups that have been integral in pushing India and other nations to take action on climate change could hamper the country’s global standing at the talks."
Especially referring to the freezing of foreign funds and bank acccounts of Greenpeace India, Bagley says, though they were "unfrozen by Indian courts", "in late April, the green group learned government officials had frozen seven of its bank accounts that are built largely on domestic donations, which make up approximately 70 percent of its $3.2 million annual budget."
The e-journal says, one should not forget that since its opening in 2001, Greenpeace India has been "one of the most vocal anti-coal groups in the country, bucking the Modi administration's all-of-the-above, pro-fossil fuel energy strategy."
It says, "The group successfully blocked coal mining in the Mahan forest in central India after a four-year legal battle and civil disobedience campaign. The organization, which has a staff of 340, also persuaded tea companies to phase out pesticides after it conducted an investigation into their health impacts on workers and consumers."
Pointing out that Greenpeace is hardly the only such organization facing government strictures, the e-journal says, "The Ford Foundation, 350.org and the ClimateWorks Foundation have seen their donations into India restricted or questioned by federal agencies as well. Nearly 9,000 NGOs (non-government organizations) were notified last month that their licenses to receive funding from abroad had been revoked."
Quoting William Antholis, an expert in climate change, international negotiations and development at the University of Virginia, Bagley says, it is "hard to read what is happening" in India, qualifying it as "simply be Indian nationalist xenophobia."
Bagley quotes Divya Raghunandan, programme director of Greenpeace India approvingly to say, the idea that civil society organizations "reduced Indian GDP by a number of percentage points is simply absurd". The civil society is in fact "a tiny gnat compared to India’s giant corporations. The idea that a group of a few hundred people have such enormous influence over the Indian economy smacks of paranoia."

Comments

TRENDING

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.