Greenpeace says India office may shut down in a month

Indian policemen prepare to remove a Greenpeace activist as he holds a banner near the area of government offices and the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in 2012 Image copyright AP
Image caption Greenpeace says the government restrictions are an "attempt to silence criticism"

The environmental group Greenpeace has said it may be forced to shut down in India in a month because the government has frozen its bank accounts.

The pressure group said it had only about 30 days' worth of funds with which to pay office costs and salaries.

India blocked the group's accounts last month, accusing it of violating tax laws and working against its economic interests.

Greenpeace says the restrictions are an "attempt to silence criticism".

The group, which says it is being targeted because of its campaigns on issues such as pollution and harmful pesticides, is preparing a legal challenge.

"We have one month left to save Greenpeace India from complete shutdown, and to fight MHA's [ministry of home affairs] indefensible decision to block our domestic accounts," Greenpeace India official Samit Aich said in a press release on Tuesday.

The group has been present in India for 14 years and employs 340 people.

An official in India's home ministry told the BBC they had not seen the Greenpeace release and hence could not comment on it.

In April, while freezing its bank accounts for six months, the government accused Greenpeace of not fully declaring the amount of foreign funds it brings into the country.

Greenpeace India rejected the charge - it said it had complied with the law governing foreign contributions.

In a long-running dispute India has accused the environmental group of "stalling development projects" by protesting against large infrastructure plans.

Since coming to power in May last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has pushed through a series of long-awaited reforms and new policies making it easier for companies to win approval for new projects.

Greenpeace activists have accused him of watering down environmental rules after the government allowed industries to operate closer to protected green zones.

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