POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 09, 2015 AT 21:45 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 09, 2015 21:45 IST

Government today barred Greenpeace India from receiving foreign funds by suspending its licence for six months and froze its seven bank accounts with immediate effect,alleging it has "prejudicially" affected country's public and economic interests.

A few months back Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai was barred by the government from travelling to the UK. The Home Ministry said that according to intelligence reports she had planned to testify on the alleged poor state of tribal people in Mahan and the manner in which the government had allegedly increased efforts to rob the tribal people of their rights, which is an absolutely a false allegation.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 09, 2015 AT 21:45 IST, Edited At: Apr 09, 2015 21:45 IST
POSTED BY Freya Dasgupta ON Apr 09, 2015 AT 20:35 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 09, 2015 20:35 IST

Ten months into his term as Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has graced the Indian media with his first-ever interview after taking over the country's premiership. Amidst increasing voices of disapproval over its proposed changes to the Land Acquisition Bill — which has been branded anti-poor — and concerns over his government’s lack of performance by industrialists, Modi has taken stock of his achievements of the last 10 months in this exclusive interview to Hindustan Times. 

Although the interview is in Q&A format, the questions are more like sub-heads. They are there, but they don't ask much. Both the questions and the answers seem to move towards a pre-determined goal — to highlight the PM's achievements. 

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POSTED BY Freya Dasgupta ON Apr 09, 2015 AT 20:35 IST, Edited At: Apr 09, 2015 20:35 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 18, 2015 AT 23:05 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 18, 2015 23:05 IST

As other big developing markets stumble, India is emerging as one of the few hopes for global growth. This is the line the New York Times takes in an article published this week. It says while China, Brazil and Russia are struggling, it is India – with its surging stock markets, robust rupee, and with multinationals looking to expand their presence – that is the only one shining.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 18, 2015 AT 23:05 IST, Edited At: Feb 18, 2015 23:05 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jan 27, 2015 AT 18:41 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 27, 2015 18:41 IST

An advertisement released by the Information and Broadcasting ministry on January 26 2015, has caused a controversy as the image of the preamble in the ad's background is seen without the words 'secular' and 'socialist'.

Congress leader and former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari attacked the Centre on the issue, claiming the government advertisement "deleted" the two words, which was only a prelude to their "substitution" with "communal" and "corporate".

Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore, however, was quick to dismiss the charge, saying his ministry had only used an "original" picture of the Preamble as it appeared before the Amendment, to "honour" the first Preamble.

The Union Minister also claimed that the same picture had been used in an advertisement by the I&B Ministry in April 2014. Tewari had helmed the ministry at that time.

"Let me assure you, we are celebrating the 66th Republic Day, that is, we are celebrating an anniversary of the Preamble that was made way back then. The photograph that we have put is of the first Preamble that our great leaders had made at that point of time," Rathore said.

"Are we to say that the governments before 1976 were not secular? That's not the point. We were secular we will always be secular. We are honouring the first Preamble, hence this picture for the advertisement," Rathore said.

Twitterati have reacted to the ad, mostly expressing displeasure with the government:

 

 

While some have explained how the original preamble actually did not include these words and that 'secular', 'socialist' and 'integrity' were added to the Preamble in 1976 by the then government:

Meanwhile, indiaresists.com has launched an online petition condemning the 'mischievious government ad', urging social media users to protest against the ad. The petition says:

At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf
At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable. - See more at: http://www.indiaresists.com/condemn-the-mischievous-govt-ad-on-26th-january-omitting-secular-and-socialist-from-the-preamble-of-indian-constitution-petition/#sthash.zT3hGfUh.dpuf

"At the time when the people of India, and even the global community, have genuine apprehensions about the secular character of the Indian democracy, which stands threatened by a right-wing government formed with less than one-third of the popular votes, this omission is utterly condemnable."

 

(With inputs from PTI)

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jan 27, 2015 AT 18:41 IST, Edited At: Jan 27, 2015 18:41 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jan 13, 2015 AT 19:08 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 22, 2015 23:30 IST

On Jan 11, PTI reported that a  Greenpeace India activist, Priya Pillai, was stopped from boarding a flight at Delhi airport to London, where she was scheduled to address British Parliamentarians on the 'infringement of rights of forest communities'.

On Jan 12, Pillai shot off a letter to the Home Ministry seeking an explanation for forbidding her from leaving the country.

However, when asked to comment on the issue, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami told reporters, "I have no idea (about the incident). Let me get a report... I shall seek a report."

An editorial on the incident in the Mint said:

"The substantial point is, should a government curb such freedom when a person plans to travel abroad and campaign against the country’s economic security? For example, activism against thermal and nuclear power plants that can imperil energy security of the Indian people? The answer is not clear-cut.

Denial of liberty may sound atrocious but endangering of economic security is a far worse proposition."

The piece created quite a stir on Twitter:

The Indian Express, in its Jan 14 editorial, says:

"A nation which wants to project itself as a serious power should have the confidence to tolerate dissent and deal with bad publicity...It should remember that if Bangladesh embarrasses India with better development indices, some of the credit goes to its flourishing NGO sector, which complements services delivered by government. The social sector should be seen as a partner in the process of development, not a political adversary paid in dollars to lobby for alien agendas and foment dissatisfaction in the countryside. Lobbying and activism are legitimate acts. The government’s response should be to negotiate. The puerile alternative of offloading inconvenient people mars the image of confident maturity that India is trying to project."

Another report in the Indian Express dated Jan 22 says:

"Days after Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a flight to London at the IGI airport in Delhi, it has emerged that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) used the "etc" category in an internal order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to issue the lookout circular that stopped her from flying out. This was done as there was no criminal case against Pillai, officials said."

Mass organisations and concerned individuals issued a statement condemning state intimidation against activists and people’s groups:

"We, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the ‘offloading’ of environmental activist Priya Pillai, associated with Greenpeace India, at the Delhi airport on 11th January 2015...It then appears that the decision was made solely by intelligence agencies on basis of ‘national interest’. Rather than an isolated case, it seems that the NDA Government and intelligence agencies are making a habit of preventing activists from travelling abroad for meetings."

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jan 13, 2015 AT 19:08 IST, Edited At: Jan 22, 2015 23:30 IST
     
 
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