Dutch NGOs face defamation suit from Bangalore-based firm


Bangalore : Two Dutch NGOs, claiming to be championing rights of garment factory workers in India, have been summoned by a Bangalore court to appear before it on June 25 in a defamation case filed by a jeans manufacturing firm.

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The case against the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) has been filed by Jeans Knit Pvt Ltd, a 100 percent subsidiary of Fibres and Fabrics International.

CCC is an international network of trade unions while ICN works for the deprived people in India.

These two organisations have continued to carry on a campaign against Jeans Knit on their websites in spite of a court stay on such activities, according to the complaint filed by the company which has 5,500 employees and an annual turnover of Rs.3 billion ($74 million).

The case was filed in a magistrate's court under whose jurisdiction falls the Peenya Industrial Estate, where Jeans Knit has its factory.

Mohammed Ghiase, director (technology and manufacturing) of Jean Knit, told IANS that the company filed the defamation case as the campaign against it did not stop even after the court had ordered stay against such activities in February this year.

Ghiase refuted charges of human rights violations in the company and said it had provided local NGOs, which were feeding the two Dutch organisations, all the information they had sought for.

However, the CCC said in a press release that it and the ICN have been raising awareness about violations at international jeans suppliers Fibres and Fabrics International and its subsidiary Jeans Knit Pvt Ltd (FFI/JKPL).

The two NGOs have been accused of cyber crime, acts of racist and xenophobic nature and criminal defamation, the release said.

It said FFI/JKPL produces for international brand name companies such as G-Star, Mexx, Gap and Armani.

Others accused of defamation and summoned to appear before the court are the Internet service providers Antenna and Xs4all, it said.