India froze seven bank accounts belonging to Greenpeace’s operations in the country on Thursday, escalating an ongoing conflict between Delhi and the environmental organization.
A government statement asserted that Greenpeace India was misusing funds and violating the country’s financial regulations, Reuters reported.
“We have evidence to prove that Greenpeace has been misreporting their funds and using their unaccounted foreign aid to stall crucial development projects,” an unnamed senior government official told Reuters.
The nongovernmental organization, which has accused the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of relaxing environmental rules to allow large industrial projects to move forward smoothly, dismissed the six-month suspension of its accounts as an attempt to silence dissent.
“We are being repeatedly targeted because we are protesting against government’s unlawful policies,” said Divya Raghunandan, Greenpeace India’s program director.
An earlier attempt by the Indian government to block the inflow of foreign funds to Greenpeace India was denied by a court order in January, soon after activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a flight to the U.K., where he was to testify against India in front of the British Parliament.
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