The Narendra Modi government has continued its crackdown on NGOs as it moved to tighten the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act norms with sedition and conversion being the prime focus. The Modi government has now made it mandatory for all office-bearers including the chief functionary of foreign funded associations and NGOs, applying for registration, a grant of prior permission or renewal of registration under the FCRA will now have to file an affidavit sharing details of their government-issued identity proof.
Currently, only the chief functionary is required to make such a declaration under Section 12(4) of FCRA, 2010. Now with this amendment, the affidavit must declare that the entity seeking registration is not fictitious, has not been prosecuted or convicted for indulging in forced religious conversion or creating communal tension and is not engaged in the propagation of sedition or found guilty of using funds for various other purposes. It is now mandatory for all the office bearers of NGOs to sign an individual affidavit which has to be duly attested by a public notary or a first-class magistrate with the submission of false documents/information set to be punishable by law.
This move comes as Prime Minister Modi is himself leading the crackdown on NGOs which are involved in ‘conversion activities.’ PM Modi is understood to have told top officers, “If the money is being pumped in for a social cause and nation-building, then there is nothing wrong. But if it is used by civil society to further the cause of foreign powers and subvert democratic institutions, then there is a danger. This is a new kind of challenge and we must be ready to face it.”
About 14 NGOs in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and a few others in Goa, Manipur, West Bengal, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh are under the scanner for being involved in conversion activities and the Ministry of Home Affairs has taken cognisance of some of the NGOs blatant anti-national activities as there have been instances where money was used for religious activities to stir up differences. The POSCO agitation in Odisha and the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant continue to stand as prime examples of NGOs trying to destabilise the country. The recent case of Sterlite Copper plant further reveals the extent of how some NGOs are present in the country with the sole agenda of stonewalling development.
Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation had continued to operate in India for many years and has proved to be a threat to the national security and the foundation wanted to radicalise scores of Indian Muslims. The Christian Missionaries have also been working overnight to convert people to Christianity majorly in rural and tribal areas as they attempt to brainwash the unsuspecting and the gullible. There is no doubt that there are a lot of ‘Zakir Naiks’ in the country who continue to operate under the garb off NGOs sand enjoy the protection and the funds that simultaneously come along with it. The sustained crackdown on NGOs by the Central Government is sure to force such ‘Zakir Naiks’ to come out from their hiding as they stand exposed.