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Amnesty International ceases operations in India; cites government pressure

Last Updated on September 29, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Aditya Chauhan

Amnesty International, a Nobel Peace Prize Awardee organization, announced its departure from India today with a tweet. It said “#NEWS: Amnesty International India Halts Its Work On Upholding Human Rights In India Due To Reprisal From Government Of India.” Established in 1961, Amnesty International has continuously worked to secure human rights globally. 

In India, Amnesty has tried to raise the voices from Delhi riots victims to reported human rights violations in Kashmir. However, the organization hasn’t found audience in the central government and its supporters. In fact, BJP fanboys have been vocal critics of the organization accusing that it is anti-India and anti-Hindu.

They claim that the organization’s main cause is to defame India on an international level.

Releasing a statement, Amnesty said that on 10th September 2020, it came to know that the government has seized its bank accounts which ultimately caused it to cease functioning. The organization is compelled to release its Indian staff and halt the ongoing campaigns.

It is not the first time that government tried to disrupt its work but rather a latest episode in the “incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations”.

On 5th November 2019, CBI registered a case against Amnesty India after receiving a complaint against them for the breach of Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act, 2010. The complaint alleged that the Amnesty India was received foreign funding from Amnesty UK even though prior permissions were declined to Amnesty India by the government.

The Amnesty India made various attempts to obtain the permission from the government for the FCRA but it was denied all the times. It was alleged that then the organization chose a commercial method to receive funding. It received Rs 10 crore from Amnesty UK under the garb of Foreign Direct Investment.

In a response to the complaints, the CBI conducted a raid in New Delhi and Bengaluru offices of Amnesty India. Around a year back then, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also raided two premises of Amnesty India over the complaints of violation of India’s foreign exchange laws. Amnesty called it a harassment then.

People have showed mixed reactions to the announcement of the departure of Amnesty India. Commenting on the Amnesty tweet, a user named Dhruv Parapurath said that, “Sad really sad. India is becoming a totalitarian state now! Replying to that, another user said that it (India) has become one in the last six years referring to the Modi government tenure. However, there are many people too who are pleased that Amnesty is leaving India. Raising questions on the works of the Amnesty India, an user by the name of Ashutosh Patak commented that, “Upholding human rights??? Really??? Creating chaos and anarchy in India doesn’t qualify upholding human rights.”