Amnesty international announced on Tuesday that it has halted its operations in India and also stated that it had to let go of its staff members working in India.
The human rights organisation has accused the Indian government of “witch-hunt” owing to which it had to shut down its operations in India. In a statement, Amnesty international accused the government of completely freezing their bank accounts, which has brought all their projects in India to a standstill.
“The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the government of India, which it came to know on 10 September, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt.” said Amnesty in a press statement.
The organisation added in its statement, “This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations,” said Amnesty, claiming that it had complied with all Indian and international laws.
Amnesty also alleged that the Indian government has acted in response to its recent reports that had raised questions on alleged rights violations during the February Delhi riots and in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.
“The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental. The constant harassment by government agencies including the Enforcement Directorate is a result of our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of the Delhi police and the government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in Delhi riots and Jammu and Kashmir. For a movement that has done nothing but raise its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent,” said Avinash Kumar, executive director of Amnesty International India.
The government, however, has refuted their claims saying that the international organisation has been receiving foreign funds illegally and that it has not registered itself under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
The government has denied the accusation of targeting the human rights organisation, as per sources from inside the government, Amnesty is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over alleged irregularities in receiving foreign funds.
According to the home ministry, the organization “got money into India through the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) route,” which is not allowed in the case of non-profits.
Amnesty India did get the government’s nod in receiving around Rs 1.69 crore from Amnesty UK in 2011-12. But according to reports that permission has been denied from 2013.