Not just ‘foreign hand’, critical Gujarat NGOs on IB watchlist too

The 21-page secret report to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) names several foreign-funded NGOs.

Written by Kumar Anand , Amitav Ranjan , Parimal A Dabhi | New Delhi | Updated: June 12, 2014 8:21 am

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to replicate the “Gujarat development model” in the country faces stiff opposition from a range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with connections to the opposition Congress and some who have campaigned for victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots, claims the Intelligence Bureau in its classified report to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The report red-flags not just international NGOs like Greenpeace but select ones from Gujarat that have campaigned against the government: “A consortium of NGOs like Maldhari (herdsmen) Rural Action Group (MARAG), People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Movement for Secular Democracy, Gujarat Sarvodaya Mandal, etc are making efforts to debunk the Gujarat model of development.”

The report claims that these NGOs actively participated in a seminar on March 15 organised by one Gujarat Vikas Manch Lokadhikar Aandolan. At this seminar, the report says, “leaders (of the NGOs) criticised the (Gujarat) state government on issues of Statue of Unity, Special Investment Regions (SIRs), Mithi Virdi (Bhavnagar) nuclear power project, industrial development, employment, health, agriculture etc issues.”

The 21-page secret report to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) names several foreign-funded NGOs and alleges that these were “stalling development projects”.

It identifies their future targets: campaign against palm oil imports from Indonesia, disposal of e-waste of Indian IT firms, organising construction workers in urban areas, protests against identified projects such as Gujarat’s SIRs, Par Tapi Narmada River Interlinking Project and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

The report says that MARAG director Laljibhai Desai, also president of Azad Vikas Sangathan, was instigating, managing and leading agitations against SIRs of Dholera and Mandal-Bechraji.

Desai, who joined Congress before the Lok Sabha elections and is its general secretary in Gujarat, said: “There is no question of any NGO steering the campaign against the government.This government has come to power through corporates and so they will safeguard their interests by targeting voluntary groups who support the people’s cause.”

Before initiating the public agitation against MB-SIR, Desai resigned from MARAG and handed it to his wife, Neeta Pandya. Desai’s protests ultimately forced Gujarat government to exclude 36 out of the 44 villages earmarked for the project.

The IB report says that MARAG received Rs 5.53 crore during 2006-12 with majority coming from Save The Children. Other fund providers were Bioversity, Child Relief & You, International Fund of Agricultural Development, Oxfam and Canada India Village Aid.

The report also names Movement for Secular Democracy, a voluntary organization based in Ahmedabad, which has been active in various cases being contested by victims of the 2002 riots.

MSD’s Convener and veteran Gandhian Prakash N Shah said that criticizing a policy of the establishment on grounds of principle was “not an act of treason”.

PUCL, another one of the organizations which played an active role in campaigning for 2002 riot victims and testified before the Gujarat Government-appointed MB Shah Commission that was probing into corruption allegations against the then Modi Government, has criticised the IB report.

Says its Gujarat general secretary Gautam Thaker: “We don’t get any foreign funds whatsoever. And if some organization is taking foreign funding, what’s the problem if they do it under the provisions of the law of the land? (Going after critical NGOs) would be an undeclared emergency and people need to wake up.”

The IB report marks out another Gujarat-linked project being under NGO attack, the Par Tapi Narmada River Interlinking Project with protests led by Parthi Purna Adivasi Sangathan (PPAS) against the construction of six dams in Gujarat and one in Maharashtra to move water from surplus Western Ghats to north Gujarat and Saurashtra/Kutch.

PPAS alleges 24 villages will be submerged and 51 will be partially affected, has mobilized tribal residents and managed to halt survey work being carried out by the National Water Development Authority.

“The government was initially not being vocal about the project fearing protest. We learnt about it only through the RTI, and now tribal leaders and residents are trying to halt it,” said Sujata Shah, who is working with the NGO.

She is also a member of Sarvodaya Parivar Trust, another NGO opposing the project. “Our primary support comes from donors most of whom are from India. We have over 1,200 donors, who offer small donations.”

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. I
    indian
    Jun 12, 2014 at 5:44 am
    time to probe not only NGOs but their sponsors regarding their real motive in india.
    Reply
    1. B
      Balakrishnan
      Jun 12, 2014 at 8:11 am
      Potion is the biggest concern. Why no NGO is against Potion explosion. If people have to be fed clothed and given energy there will be a huge demand on resources. Unless potion explosion is stopped you cannot protect the resources
      Reply
      1. J
        Jai Bharat
        Jun 13, 2014 at 5:14 am
        this is becaz kejriwal himself is running NGO called Kabir along with manish sisodia..getting crore of donations from ford foundation. but the bill ped by parliament(for lokpal) also covers these anti national NGO ..that's why kjriwal always opposed that bill..
        Reply
        1. G
          Girish
          Jun 12, 2014 at 7:57 am
          most NGOs are opaque while declaiming insutions and individuals for lack of accountability. most NGOs are on paper only, yet transactions running into Crores are done in their name.A better NGO registration & declaration bill would weed these out but not all are thieves.Lets not kill the genuine ones along with the majority ill-motivated ones.
          Reply
          1. V
            venkatesha murthy
            Jun 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm
            I hope these are aware the garbage problem in Bangalore.They can take up the issue and fight on behalf of the citizens. They may not come here as there is no money involved in Bangalore agitation.
            Reply
            1. R
              Rakesh Gupta
              Jun 14, 2014 at 8:06 am
              How about you taking an initiative to setup an NGO and make poor people aware of the risk of increasing potion?? Walk the Talk..If not then support who are doing something..
              Reply
              1. H
                Harendra
                Jun 12, 2014 at 1:35 am
                Stopping development projects with help of foreign funding? This is not madness but their is method behind madness!!Why do they need crores of rupees from international churches to stop development projects in India?This is part of conspiracy to keep the country poor in the name of poor
                Reply
                1. J
                  Jayant Giri
                  Jun 12, 2014 at 9:08 am
                  Development is necessary but it also should do justice who are affected by the process of development. Because such issues are not addressed with equity by the government, the NGO's have to interfere in the interests of those affected. For this money is required and that comes from donors, but that does not mean the NGO's are anti national or anti development.
                  Reply
                  1. L
                    leadindia
                    Jun 12, 2014 at 7:43 am
                    i guess the IB report leak is Modi's way of telling the NGOs buzz off.....huge nexus of NGOs who claim to be fighting for poor while they get rich
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Mohan
                      Jun 12, 2014 at 5:44 am
                      Perhaps this is why the Jan Lok pal bill introduced in the Delhi embly with much fanfare by a self appointed " crusader against corruption" had kept such foreign funded NGOs outside the purview of the Lok Pal
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        mrunal
                        Jun 12, 2014 at 6:17 am
                        Either you are with 'us' or you are against 'us' and we have the monopoly of what development means!!
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          Krish
                          Jun 12, 2014 at 7:32 am
                          Income Tax exemption should be withdrawn from the NGO's. All NGO's should file returns with State Governments and Central Government thru online. Funding should be declared to public through public newspapers. Members of Political parties should not be members of NGO's. A regulatory body open to RTI should be set up. Guidelines should be stronger to ensure that vested interests are not taking advantage. Violations should attract jail terms.
                          Reply
                          1. P
                            Prabhudas Purohit
                            Sep 30, 2014 at 5:42 am
                            More than twenty lac NGOs ? What for ? Many of the foreign funded NGOs are acting against our national interests. Gujarat was demonized beyond a limit. Because of such anti-national elements, many daring police officers of Gujarat are in jail. We should allow such activities in the name of democratic rights.
                            Reply
                            1. H
                              Hemant; Hyderababad
                              Jun 12, 2014 at 6:38 am
                              Why are they not carrying same agitations in China ? Why Kejriwals's Jan Lokpal Bill keeps such NGOs out of RTI. Can AAP explain this. All leaders of such agitations- who have forgien bank account and details- can Kejariwal tell this.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                SA1
                                Jun 13, 2014 at 8:59 pm
                                why not ask from probe of funding of political parties? their funding runs into thousands of crores.
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  AdabSe
                                  Jun 12, 2014 at 7:49 am
                                  Good governance is open to criticism and find appropriate ways to address grievances raised. Without criticism any system would become self delusional and shut itself off from improvement and having a 360 degree view.Shutting out criticism, by questioning the motives or by sabotaging their by social existence bing them as mala fide is a very shrewd way of killing the social causes.
                                  Reply
                                  1. Load More Comments