In its 21-page classified report, Impact of NGOs on Development, first reported by The Indian Express, that identifies certain foreign-funded NGOs as threat to India’s national economic security and the Gujarat model of development, the Intelligence Bureau has cut and pasted from a published speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to describe the modus operandi of certain organizations.
On September 9, 2006, then Gujarat chief minister Modi had lashed out in a speech at a “wealthy” and “influential” class of NGOs that “hire PR firms to continually build their image” with “money coming from abroad.” The occasion was the release of the first edition of NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry edited by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak — a collection of articles on what they called the anti-Hindu agenda and corrupt practices of certain NGOs and activists — at New Delhi.
Modi’s speech at that function was included in the second edition of the collection.
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The second paragraph on the fourth page (page number 417 in the book) of Modi’s article, NGOs as Non-Accountable Businesses, reads as follows:
“Another conspiracy — a vicious cycle is set up. Funds are obtained from abroad; an NGO is set up; a few articles are commissioned; a PR firm is recruited and, slowly, with the help of the media, an image is created. And then awards are procured from foreign countries to enhance this image. Such a vicious cycle, a network of finance-activity-award is set up and, once they have secured an award, no one in Hindustan dares raise a finger, no matter how many the failings of the awardee.”
The second paragraph on the third page (Part A) of the IB report on NGOs reads:
“A small group of activists and NGOs at times have succeeded in shaping policy debates in India. Apart from that, in some cases it is observed that in a cyclical process, an NGO is set up, funds are obtained from abroad, a few articles are commissioned, a PR firm is recruited and, slowly, with the help of the media an image is created. And then awards are procured from foreign countries to enhance the image, after which Government machinery finds it more difficult to act against the awardee.”
When asked of the IB had asked for permission to use the paragraph from the book she edited, Radha Rajan of Vigilonline said she stood vindicated. “No, the IB did not contact me. But probably they were present at the high-profile book release next to the BJP office on Delhi’s Ashoka Road in 2006,” she told The Indian Express.
Contacted by The Indian Express, a senior IB official closely associated with the report declined to comment.
(Mazoomdaar is a former staffer of The Indian Express)