A fortnight after the website of environmental collective Fridays for Future India (fridaysforuture.in) was disabled by its domain service provider on the basis of a Delhi Police notice, it went live on Friday.
Volunteers of Fridays for Future India (FFF) told News18.com that the website went back live around 11.50 am. Neither the website's volunteers nor the domain service providers have received any intimation from the Delhi Police about its unblocking, said Apar Gupta, executive director of Internet Freedom Foundation, the organisation providing legal assistance to FFF India.
The Delhi Police on July 8 had served a notice to the domain host of FFF India based on a complaint of Union Environment Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar. The minister had filed a complaint after receiving thousands of emails on his official email address linked to a public campaign run by FFF India on the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020.
News18 had reported on Thursday that following Javadekar's complaint, Delhi Police sought to block the FFF India website and had invoked the draconian anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against them, citing what it called 'objectionable content'. The police later clarified that the UAPA charge was invoked “inadvertently” and the notice on it was withdrawn on July 12. However, they did not clarify why the website was not enabled till Friday morning, more than a week since the notice was withdrawn.
Gupta said the Delhi Police have not yet responded to the detailed statement issued by FFF India against the allegations mentioned in earlier notice nor have they acknowledge the statement.
FFF India's campaign was conducted to facilitate public awareness and drive public participation in the consultations happening on the draft EIA norms. The draft EIA norms have come under fire for relaxing environmental safeguards and for proposing easier environmental permissions for industries that have a high environmental impact. FFF India's campaign provided concerned citizens with a template for a letter on the inadequacies of the draft EIA notification and the grounds for demanding its withdrawal.
Using the template, thousands had sent an email to the environment minister from their personal email addresses, which seems to have prompted the minister to file a complaint.