Global non-profit organisation Oxfam is currently under the scanner of the authorities of Assam for running a “motivated campaign” against tea plantations in the north-eastern state.
The investigation against the United Kingdom-founded and Nairobi-headquartered NGO kicked off in February last year. It started after a complaint by the activist group Legal Rights Observatory (LRO), who had written to the federal Home Ministry to probe the “conspiracy” against Assam’s tea industry following Oxfam’s damning investigation deploring the rights of tea workers in the state, as it urged other countries to stop purchasing tea grown in Assam’s gardens.
Recently, PM Narendra Modi at a rally in Assam’s Sonitpur had spoken again this global-conspiracy against Assam tea production. He said, “People who are conspiring to defame India have stooped so low that they are not sparing even Indian tea. You must have heard in the news that these conspirators are vowing to malign the image of Indian tea in a systematic manner across the world”.
Thanks PM Modi for taking the issue, LRO had tweeted, “Thanks @narendramodi for directly naming enemies of #Assam Tea! Since yrs, @OxfamIndia headed by CEO @AmitabhBehar (treasurer of @harsh_mander NGO @CEStudies ) running defamatory campaign against #AssamTea using #Bollywood. Hope @himantabiswa @sarbanandsonwal fully crush them”.
Referring to the #TruthAboutTea hashtag that has been actively promoted by Oxfam over the last two years, LRO’s complaint had stated, “The Indian government is now faced with the task to defend its own tea industry because thousands of stories pertaining to the so-called pathetic state of Assam tea workers have already made their way to international media and human rights groups”.
LRO’s complaint alleges a “sinister plot” by Oxfam and other allied NGOs to “destroy the reputation of Assam’s tea”.
LRO warned of a “massive digital campaign” by the NGO to malign India’s image, adding that the Indian government would be faced with an uphill task in correcting the perceptual bias against Assam’s tea in other countries if Oxfam was not stopped from carrying out its campaign.
India is number two in terms of tea production, second only to China.