‘Uphold Sustainable Development: Condemn `Foreign Funded’ Destructive Development Promoted by IB’

A public statement by Concerned Citizens,

We, the following organizations and individuals are deeply shocked at the dubious methods used by the Intelligence Bureau of the Home Ministry of India, to discredit many important social activists in this country who have committed their lives in social action for years.  For a long time, these activists have consistently questioned the destructive path of development India is following and have demanded a model of sustainable and equitable development which does not harm the environment, local communities, culture and the future generations.

A Protest message against Tehri Dam, Garhwal, Uttarakhand
A Protest message against Tehri Dam, Garhwal, Uttarakhand

For obvious reasons, the IB has selected activists connected with issues like POSCO, genetically modified food, nuclear energy, etc and branded these as `development for the nation’ and those activists who question the un-sustainability, environmental implications, the impact on livelihood of thousands people and other social costs of such `proven disasters’ have been named `foreign funded’ activists trying to block India’s development. We condemn the IB report on the following reasons:

1.       IB report is a calculated character assassination attempt on a large number of credible activists in this country including Admiral Ramdas, Justice P K Mishra, Medha Patkar,  Dr. SP Udayakumar, Achin Vanaik, Praful Bidwai, Prashant Paikray, K. P Sasi, Dr. Surendra Gadekhar, Babloo Loitongbam, Lalita Ramdas, Late Banwarilal Sharma, Late Fr. Tom Kochery, Aarti Chokshi, M G Devasahayam, Aruna Rodrigues, Kavita Kuruganti and others. We understand that Narendra Modi is planning to execute a major corporate agenda of destroying India’s land, water and forests and since thousands of crores of rupees have been used from the corporate sector for his election campaign, there is an urgency to sell off India to the corporate interests. Therefore, this slander campaign is only to clear the ground to benefit the Indian and foreign multinational interests.

2.       We strongly oppose the use of the term `foreign’ to describe credible activists of this country. We consider it as only a political gimmick to facilitate the real `foreign’ interests.

3.       Among the issues mentioned is POSCO which is already discredited very badly in India and abroad and this multinational company is investing one of the largest `foreign’ investments of Rs. 54,000 Crores, causing large scale livelihood problems and displacement of tens of thousands of fisher folk, farmers, Dalits and Adivasis. This `foreign funded’ project is also violating all norms of existing laws of protection of the forests under the Forest Rights Act and protection of the coastal lands under Coastal Regulation Zone Notification and many rights of women and children. The draconian project is also responsible for throwing over hundred bombs on the struggling villagers and over 100 people have been shot in peaceful protests. We extend our full solidarity and support of the local villagers against this `mega foreign funded’ project.

4.       Among the other issues mentioned, the people’s movement against Koodankulam nuclear plant is noteworthy. Perhaps the IB should check the developments of nuclear plants in Japan, Germany, the United States and other countries and explore the reasons for why they are closing down the operations on nuclear energy due to large scale social and environmental disasters followed by large scale protests of people against such destructive developmental projects even in these `foreign’ countries whose nuclear technology is more advanced than what is there in India. IB should also understand that the immediate effects of radiation due to Koodankulam nuclear plants will be on southern Tamil Nadu, Southern Kerala and Northern Kerala and if the IB officers wish to lead a lead life without cancer and genetic disorders for their children and their own future generations, it is most advisable that they remove their officials from this `foreign’ initiated nuclear plant disposing their outdated technologies wth the help of politicians. The IB should have the minimum intelligence to understand that if you have cancer and down syndrome due to radiation from any `foreign’ installation like Chernobyl, Fukushima,Three Mile Island or a nuclear plant in Koodankulam, the health effects and the environmental impacts are similar. We hereby extend our full solidarity to the struggle of the brave villagers of Koodankulam under the leadership of Dr. SP Uday Kumar.

5.       The other issue which is mentioned in the report is GM (Genetically Modified)) crops. The hazards of such crops are well known in India as well as abroad. The interests of such development is only for the `foreign’ multinationals like Monsanto. While the IB has assumed all these destructive projects as `national interests’, it has conveniently ignored the objections to GM crops by the Moratorium Orders of Shri Jairam Ramesh, the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report and the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee Report (TEC) because they have found that GM crops have little to contribute to Indian agriculture, safe food and food security in this country. We bring to your notice that IB has no business to indirectly facilitate a foreign multinational company like Monsanto and malign the credibility of activists who are questioning the large scale potential disaster to this nation due to GM crops.

6.       The document of IB report which was classified as a `secret report’ was released by the IB itself to the press with an agenda to malign, scandalize and create a character assassination of credible activists in this country. We strongly condemn such dubious methods.

7.       As far as the few NGOs mentioned are concerned, it is clear that the IB has conveniently selected them due to their stands on the above issues and it has nothing to do with foreign fund. The Intelligence Bureau knows that there are over 40,000 NGOs operating in this country and they never objected to the visit of Narendra Modi for blessings to  one of the largest foreign funded NGO under Mata Amritandamayi, a well known hub of RSS activists. IB had no problem when even BBC reported that large scale foreign fund was diverted by the NGO called Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra, another hub of the Sangh Parivar, for the brutal murder of over 2000 innocent Muslims in Gujarat. Therefore, it is obvious that the IB is facilitating a political game rather than serving any national interest.

8.       We also would like to bring to your notice that the space for criticisms on any Government is a crucial space which is fundamental to any democracy. What the IB is attempting to do is only to block this important critical space which is against all national interests.

9.       We are aware that thousands of crores of rupees are regularly being spent on the intelligence agencies in this country and such financial resources collected from the tax payers’ money in this country is ultimately getting used against the rights of the citizens of this country. The present IB report is a classic example. We demand a drastic cut of such financial resources which are regularly used against the rights of the minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, the people’s movements and activists in this country for the preservation and sustainance of democracy. We also demand  that all the financial resources used by the intelligence agencies be brought under public audit and be reported to the Indian Parliament so that such institutions also realize that there is a public accountability which rests on them.

10.   We demand that immediate action on all those officials be undertaken for executing such criminal behavior and misusing their official powers.

Due to all the above reasons, we are convinced that the IB report is only a politically motivated instrument of the vested interests in this country. We strongly condemn the public use of IB against activists, people’s movements and credible journalists.

We appeal to all members of the civil society to condemn the IB report and strengthen the people’s movements for they are the only source and hope for the survival of our future, despite the interventions of irresponsible politicians and irresponsible intelligence departments.

We appeal to all members of the civil society to uphold sustainable and equitable development, no matter what the authorities speak of destructive foreign motivated development as `national interest’!

We appeal to all members of the civil society to speak up against the suppression of critical voices, without which in the final analysis, freedom of all individuals will be at stake very soon.

We are: 

  1. Prof. Romila Thapar
  2. Dr. Mallika Sarabhai, artist and activist
  3. Mahesh bhat – film director, producer
  4. Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere
  5. Vrinda Grover – Lawyer – Supreme Court of India
  6. Anand Patwardhan
  7. Buddhadev Dasgupta.eminent filmmaker.
  8. Goutam Ghosh (film maker)
  9. Prof KN Panikkar
  10. Aruna Roy
  11. Sandeep Pande, activist
  12. Sadanand Menon, art critic, journalist.
  13. Dr(Brig)R S Rajan (Director , Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development, Mysore)
  14. Dr P M Bhargava (Former and Founder Director,Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology  (CCMB), Hyderabad, Former Vice-Chairman, National Knowledge Commission; Former Member, National Security Advisory Board; Government of India)
  15. K. Satchidanhandan, Ex Chairperson, Kendra Sahitya Academi
  16. Prof. Anjali Monteiro
  17. Teesta Setalvad
  18. Prof. K.P. Jayasankar
  19. J Devika
  20. Kedar Misra (well known poet and journalist from orissa)
  21. Ram Puniyani
  22. Manisha Sethi, Associate Professor. Jamia Milia Islamia Univesity
  23. Ambrose Pinto
  24. Sudhir Patnaik, editor/journalist
  25. Ramdas Rao , PUCL, Karnataka,
  26. R.P. Amudhan, Film Maker
  27. P Baburaj
  28. Prafulla Samantara
  29. BRP Bhaskar
  30. Civic Chandran
  31. KR Mohan, former Chairperson, Kerala Chalachitra Academi
  32. Gopal Menon
  33. B. Suresh (film Director in Kannada & play writer)
  34. Fr . Jimmy c. dabhi (Human development and research centre)
  35. K R Seshadri
  36. Syed Tanveeruddin, Environmental/Green, RTI, Human Rights and Social Activist, Mysore
  37. G R Vidyaranya, Social & RTI Activist, Media Coordinator, Aam Aadmi Party, Mysore Dist
  38. Dr. TT Sreekumar  ,Associate Professor and Chair, Fellows Programme in Management – Communications (FPM-C) Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad
  39. Leena Manimekalai, Poet, Filmmaker
  40. Amar Kanwar – film maker
  41. Dr. Vinod Vyasulu
  42. Sampad Mohapatra -Journalist,Odisha
  43. Pradosh Pattanaik., Journalist, Ex Editor of “The Samaja “,premier odia daily.
  44. Bhabani Charan Pattanaik.-Freedom Fighter and Ex Rajyasabha member.
  45. Rabi Das-Senior Journalist ,Odisha.
  46. Dr. Vijayamma
  47. Jagadish Chandra
  48. Sohini Dasgupta, filmmaker.
  49. Dr. Swarajit Jana, social activist.
  50. Malini Bhattacharya, ex MP.
  51. Prof. Mihir Bhattacharya.
  52. Raja Sen, filmmaker
  53. Sadique Hossain, Yuva Sahitya Academy Award Winner Author.
  54. Bidyarthi Chatterji, film Critic.
  55. S. N. M.Abdi, journalist.
  56. Ashok Viswanathan, filmmaker.
  57. Subhodip Maitra, writer,journalist,cultural activist.
  58. Sunanda Mukhopadhyay, Chairperson – West Bengal Women’s Commission.
  59. Soumitra Dastidar, documentary maker,columnist.
  60. Sudarshana Chakraborty, Journalist,documentary maker.
  61. Shabnam Hashmi
  62. Prof A Aarx – writer, critic.
  63. P Sasikumar, film maker, actor, tv anchor.
  64. T V Chandran – film maker.
  65. Prof. Moidul Islam.
  66. Prof. Barnali Ghosh
  67. Arundhati Duru, activist
  68. Kumar Sundaram, Editor, DiaNuke.org