Imagine a person saying this: “I wanted to ride a bike in city roads at maximum speed, but the traffic police curb this. I wanted to roam on road at midnight and visit whichever home I wish to, but the police are asking me questions on why I am out on road. This is the witch-hunt that the administration is carrying out against me.” Wouldn’t you consider this a bizarre allegation by a person who does not want to abide by the rules framed for the good of society?
If you think about it, Amnesty International blaming the government for shutting down of its operations in India is similarly bizarre. Fact of the matter is that the governments, both the present and the previous one headed by different political ideologies, have denied it foreign funding permission since they don’t fit into Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) norms. How does this amount to witch-hunting?
Amnesty’s Violation of Rules
The Ministry of Home Affairs has set the record straight highlighting many facts surrounding Amnesty. It has stated that human rights cannot be an excuse for defying the law of the land.
“Amnesty International had received permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) only once and that too twenty years ago (19.12.2000). Since then Amnesty International, despite its repeated applications, has been denied FCRA approval by successive governments since as per law it is not eligible to get such an approval.
However, in order to circumvent the FCRA regulations, Amnesty UK remitted large amounts of money to four entities registered in India, by classifying it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). A significant amount of foreign money was also remitted to Amnesty (India) without MHA’s approval under FCRA. This mala fide rerouting of money was in contravention of extant legal provisions.”
The Ministry states, “Amnesty is free to continue humanitarian work in India, as is being done by many other organizations. However, India, by settled law, does not allow interference in domestic political debates by entities funded by foreign donations. This law applies equally to all and it shall apply to Amnesty International as well.”
The True Picture previously documented in detail about the dubious conduct of Amnesty in the name of Human Rights. You may want to read Amnesty’s Paid Facebook Posts Against Govt.: What Does It Have to Hide?
Behind all the claims of Amnesty about “witch-hunt”, “difficulty in operating in India” there may be realisation of new realities in the light of recent amendments to FCRA that brought further transparency in the foreign funding of any organisation. Amnesty perhaps decided that even if they get FCRA approval in future, it may still be “difficult” for them to conduct operations under new set of transparency rules. You may also like to read our previous article Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act: Greater Transparency into Foreign Funding of NGOs