What is this with the Intelligence Bureau folks?

These are three ‘gems’ picked from the IB report as reported in the Indian Express (June 11, 2014) on ‘foreign-funded NGOs’ (focusing heavily on Greenpeace) on how these ‘not-for-profit’ outfits are ‘a threat to national economic security’.

“It is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence. The efforts are focused on “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy”.

“The report also accuses Greenpeace, “actively aided and led by foreign activists visiting India”, of violating the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 (FCRA), and financing “sympathetic studies” at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and at IIT-Delhi.”

“Greenpeace’s “funding of research bodies” is a “massive effort” that has not attained high visibility so far. “To encourage Indian-ness of its anti-coal approach, Greenpeace has financed Tata Institute of Social Sciences to study health, pollution and other aspects at Mahan and plans to use this case to ban all coal blocks.”

Now, the inputs behind these ‘observations’ must have been collected very meticulously as the ‘intent’ of the ‘words’ sounds very serious.

‘Certain’ pro-environment protests are ‘national threat’ and Greenpeace is dragging down the economy, going as far as saying about changing the nation’s ‘energy mix’ — would we be so silly to crush the democratic means of protests for a cause that millions identify with because of a 21-page IB report.

Hopefully, it will not be so. The prime minister’s office where the report has been submitted will act rationally enough to read the substance in the report, much of which is not there.

For all its ‘meticulousness’, we cannot take the report seriously. The ‘worthiness’ and the ‘inevitability’ of the energy-generation projects stalled by the protests initiated or led by the NGOs (including Greenpeace) may be debatable with pro- and hostile voices. In fact, certain projects need speedy completion given the valid requirements of an energy-starved country that is also one of the major economies of the world now.

But that can never be the pretext to suppress the protests employing democratic means to raise an issue or issues about a particular project – be it social or environmental.

And mostly, these protests have been peaceful barring few incidents – we have seen it in the most high-profile conflicts in the recent times – Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra and POSCO steel plant in Odisha.

Preserving the protesting voices employing the democratic means is a must for the democratic health of the country, even if it involves some cost.

Also, the ‘funding sympathetic research’ observation is something that cannot be taken even with a pinch of salt. Yes, every research is political in nature and is agenda based. But that doesn’t make doing research undemocratic. Also, the findings of research studies cannot be imposed even if Greenpeace (or any other body) is funding some.

For a research to be socially, politically, economically and commercially relevant, it needs to be taken out of its academic and environs and to be introduced on a mass level, something that an outfit like Greenpeace cannot achieve in India, even if it has a ‘superior network and pan-India presence’ as the IB report claims.

Wake up folks and do some intelligent ‘intelligence’ stuff — decisions costing worth billions of dollars (or scams, case by case) in energy sector have failed to change or ‘improve’ the energy mix of the country so far — see the plight of Delhi by just one thunderstorm — India’s capital city needs more than a month to get back on the track with outages running 10 hours a day.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –