The Modi government has made its mission to root out dubious foreign funding to shady NGOs and to effectively counter FCRA violators. The government and its enforcement agencies are not giving any breathing space to those who are suspected of dubious foreign funding. And what is unprecedented is the fact that the government is taking action against even the biggest of entities if the occasion so arises. It does not seem to care much for political pressure or political backlash that this move might have. Securing national interest seems to be the only objective. Notorious international NGO Amnesty India is the latest entity to face the government’s action on FCRA violations.
In what shows the strong resolve of the government to take the FCRA violators to task, it has come to light that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is conducting raids at the office of the Amnesty India in Bengaluru. These raids are being conducted in connection with allegations of FCRA violations against the Amnesty International India. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) regulates the acceptance and usage of foreign contributions in India. The raids at Amnesty India started at around 2 pm today at the office of Amnesty India’s Indiranagar building in Bengaluru. It has also been learnt that the laptops of several individuals were confiscated by the ED officials.
Earlier in August this year, the Department of Revenue had received a reference from the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) unit of the Central Government, seeking a probe to determine whether the Indian entities linked to Amnesty International-UK violated foreign exchange rules. The ED was reported to have been looking into this issue and the FCRA’s apprehensions that Amnesty International-UK and some other entities based in the U.K. were transferring funds to the Amnesty India allegedly through commercial channels, in violation of the FEMA rules. The amount involved in these allegations is over Rs. 36 crores and is said to have been received between May 2014 and August 2016.
Amnesty India is known for anti-India stance on several issues and particularly on the issue of terrorism in Kashmir. It has been unnecessarily and excessively critical of the Indian forces deployed in the valley and leaves no opportunity of trying to peddle anti-India propaganda in the name of human rights before the rest of the world. It, therefore, does not come as a huge surprise that the Pakistani daily, Dawn, used the statements made by the Amnesty India to further the Pakistani agenda of claiming that there is a popular uprising in Kashmir and that the Indian forces are acting in an inhumane manner. Dawn quoted the Amnesty India (AII) Executive Director Aakar Patel on the recent skirmishes in Kulgam. Patel had said, “What transpired in the aftermath of the Kulgam encounter is unfortunate and could have been avoided had the authorities taken extra caution to ensure that civilians would have access to the area only after proper sanitisation of the encounter site was done.” It must be taken into account that Aakar Patel who epitomises the anti-India stance of the AII had made these comments only to further the anti-India narrative without having any knowledge of what transpired at the ground level.
AII is an influential and powerful organisation but the way ED has proceeded against it fearlessly goes on to show that the government is going to take FCRA violators to task irrespective of the status, position and influence of the violator.