Tightening the noose around dubious NGOs, using the amended FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act), the Indian government in the past one-and-a-half month has suspended the foreign funding license of six NGOs, which includes Christian evangelist groups and Islamic charities allegedly linked to religious conversion or funds misutilization.
Conversion syndicates masquerading as NGOs
As reported by TFI last month, the FCRA license of Markazul Ighasathil Khairiyathil Hindiyya, a Kerala-based NGO linked to prominent Sunni leader Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed was revoked over “misutilization” of funds, misrepresentation of facts, and non-filing of annual FCRA returns in 2019-20.
Meanwhile, Odisha-based People’s Organisation of Empowerment of Tribals and Heavenly Grace Ministries as well as Madurai-based Russ Foundation were issued suspension orders under FCRA on August 28. One of the directors of Russ Foundation home was arrested in 2019 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old inmate.
In July, the home ministry rescinded the FCRA license of a Lucknow-based Al Hasan Educational and Welfare Organisation over their alleged activities related to forced religious conversions. Reported extensively by TFI, the aforementioned NGO was closely connected to Mohammad Umar Gautam, who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for converting thousands of Hindus into Islam, mostly forced.
Umar Gautam was quoted as saying, “I converted at least 1,000 non-Muslims to Islam, marrying them all to Muslims.” He also confessed to having converted over 1,500 children at school for hearing and speech impaired in Noida on the pretext of employment and money.
In June, another spurious NGO named Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), headed by Sanjoy Hazarika and headquartered in London, United Kingdom was also suspended. In its suspension order of June 7, the Ministry of Home Affairs had stated that information about the opening of a bank account in February 2016 was not intimated by CHRI to the authorities. It also accused CHRI of other violations of FCRA.
FCRA also cancelled licenses of 13 NGOs who were allegedly involved in religious conversions of tribals to Christianity, as reported by TFI.
Governments usually find the equitable distribution of resources among various states difficult due to the limitations of such resources. This gap between demand and supply had created the need for NGOs in the country.
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Generally working on a non-profit basis, the NGOs have been functioning in India for ages without much regulation and control on their activities. With an extensive reach in the rural and suburban areas of the country, the activities of NGOs have hitherto been unchecked.
In the garb of working for the development of the marginalized, these NGOs lure innocent ones into the trap of conversion. Through money or other social benefits, the unsuspecting commoners are converted as the cycle continues to repeat itself.
Modi government’s fight against dubious NGOs
Ever since the Modi government assumed power, it has relentlessly cracked down on the foreign funding of the NGOs, who while working on Indian soil, serve vested interests, to the detriment of India. FCRA regulates the acceptance and usage of foreign contributions in India. Last year in September, to crack down on religious extremist NGOs looking to continue their mass conversion rackets, the government of India had amended FCRA.