Recently, more than 6,000 non-government organisations (NGOs) had lost their license given to them under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). One of them includes ‘missionaries of charity’. The impact of Modi govt’s crackdown on Mother Teresa’s organisation was heard in the United Kingdom (UK). UK politicians are now losing their minds thinking on the issue.
British Parliament up in arms over the revocation of FCRA license
House of Lords, the second chamber of the UK Parliament, was hit by the Modi government’s crackdown on Christian Missionaries in India. Peers (members of the house) have asked the Indian government for exact details about its crackdown on NGOs.
The issue came to light in British Parliament when Lord Harries of Pentregarth, a retired Bishop asked a question about the British government’s response to the crackdown on NGOs in India. His question to British Parliament was “what representations the UK government was making to Delhi about the blocking of overseas funds for the Missionaries of Charity and other non-governmental organisations”
Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) took up the responsibility of defending Boris Jhonson Government. He said that the UK government is aware of the issue at hand.
Responding specifically to revoking the license of ‘missionaries of charity’, he said, “On the issue of the license in India, I have looked into this specifically, and we do not know why its applications were rejected. I have asked and pressed to see the kinds of numbers that currently exist,”
Questions and counter-questions
Ahmad tried his best to convince Harries that it was not a Christianity-specific crackdown. However, he himself seemed confused about it. He said that some licenses were not renewed because their holders did not follow regulatory procedures. Additionally, he said that cancelled licenses belong to NGOs of all swathes.
“There are Christian NGOs, but there are also 250 Hindu NGOs and more than 250 Muslim NGOs, so whether this is specifically against Christian organisations is not shown by the data, but I am requesting further information in this respect,” said Ahmad.
UK government has not studied the issues in detail
Responding to Lord Alton’s question on whether the government had studied the lists of the revoked licensees, Ahmad said that the UK government has raised the issue with Indian High Commissioner in London. He also said that the UK government is in talks with the Indian government as well.
Giving a brief about the UK government’s efforts in this direction, Ahmad said, “The noble Lord points to specific numbers. As I alluded to earlier, “I have asked specifically for a drill-down on the numbers over a period, so that I can analyse directly which organisations are impacted and the reasons why these licenses have been revoked, to allow us to make much more qualified representation”
Friends of India in the U.K. Parliament today urged the Modi Government to rethink its decision to withdraw licenses from charities and civil society groups – such as Mother Teresa’s community and Oxfam – threatening their life saving work. https://t.co/QqU0OZ7atH pic.twitter.com/XtPK8I8jvA
— Lord (David) Alton (@DavidAltonHL) January 6, 2022
Meanwhile, Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, a Scottish politician advocated the involvement of multilateral organisations to solve the ‘crisis’. Recommending Commonwealth Secretariat’s involvement, he said, “sometimes multilateral organisations can be better than getting a lecture from the UK”.
Furore over FCRA license
Recently, The FCRA license of 6,000 NGOs including IIT Delhi, Jamia Milia Islamia, Indian Medical Association and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library had lapsed. These entities either did not apply for renewal of their licenses of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs rejected their applications, as per officials.
When the Modi government came to power, it was concerned about the security risks posed by foreign funding from dubious sources. So, it notified new rules in 2015 that require NGOs to give an undertaking that receipt of foreign funding is not likely to prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with any foreign state and that it does not disrupt communal harmony.
Modi government is stern on its stand. It won’t allow anyone to tamper with the social and religious fabric of India. No amount of criticism from erstwhile colonisers will stop us from saving our cultures from outside influence.