Paper: Shrinking democratic spaces: Criminalization of environmental NGOs in India

Paper details

Paper authors Catherine Viens, Priscyll Anctil Avoine
In panel on Building locally-led solidarities over shrinking space for civil society
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


NGOs in India are increasingly targeted. Dissent is labelled as “anti-national”, and many university students, journalists, and civil society activists have been incarcerated. Left-wing and progressive universities, for example, are seen as immoral and anti-national bastions. Laws such as the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, of 2010, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act have been used to target environmental NGOs, resulting in a shrinking space for civil society. In this presentation, we first want to present this process of criminalization of environmental activism by the State. This process is not just happening in India, but in many other countries that are hotspots of resource conflicts. We are focusing on the criminalization of NGOs that are working with communities that are resisting extractivist development policies and who defend their territory and the natural environment. From there, we want to explore how this criminalization is also resulting and leading to alternative modes of trans-local solidarity and resistance.