India registers cases against four NGOs over funding of anti-nuclear protests

Wednesday, Mar 07,2012, 3:22:38 PM

Tightening the noose on those opposing the Kudankulam nuclear project, the Indian government has registered cases against four NGOs for allegedly diverting funds to fuel protests and deported a German national for assisting the agitators.

"Cases have been registered against four NGOs for violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act," India's Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters here.

The action came days after the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stated that non-governmental organizations have received support from abroad for leading protests against the much-awaited nuclear power plant.

Bank accounts of the four NGOs have been frozen after an inquiry conducted by the Home Ministry reportedly found them diverting funds meant for charity to fuel the protests.

The cases were registered by the Crime Branch of the Tamil Nadu Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Earlier, a German national was picked up by Tamil Nadu Police in Nagercoil for allegedly assisting the protests and deported him in the wee hours Tuesday.

Sonnteg Reiner Hermann (49), against whom a 'look-out notice' was issued by the Home Ministry, was detained by the police monitoring the anti-KNPP [Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project] protests after they were alerted by central intelligence agencies.

Hermann arrived in India on a tourist visa and had been helping the protesters in contravention of the visa rules which invited the 'look-out notice'.

"He had no business to be in Nagercoil. He had violated all the visa rules and hence we have deported him," a senior official said.

In his interview to the 'Science' magazine, the prime minister said some NGOs do not appreciate India's growing energy requirements.

"....there are NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces. But we are a democracy, we are not like China," he had said on the commissioning of two 1000-mw nuclear reactors that has been stalled due to protests.

India's Union Minister of State for PMO [prime minister's office] V. Narayanaswamy said the NGOs were found to be diverting foreign funds for the anti-nuclear campaign in Kudankulam.

"These NGOs were receiving funds from foreign countries for social service causes like helping the physically handicapped and eradication of leprosy but these were used for anti-nuclear protests," he said.

India's nuclear power plant operator, NPCIL, is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project has run into trouble with locals demanding scrapping of the project citing safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

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