Headlines September 30, 2020
Amnesty suspends India operations over ‘government witch hunt’
Amnesty International has halted its operations in India and said it had to let go of its staff after its accounts were frozen earlier this month. The organisation has called this a “witch-hunt” by the government over its negative reports.
The government, however, says the global rights watchdog has been receiving foreign funds illegally and that it never registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
In a press statement, Amnesty said “the complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the government of India, which it came to know on 10 September, brings all the work being done by the organisation to a grinding halt.”
The organisation said it had been forced to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work.
Amnesty says it has followed all Indian and international laws.
“This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organisations by the government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations,” said Amnesty.
Amnesty linked all government action to its reports critical of the government. Its recent reports had raised questions on alleged rights violations during the February Delhi riots and in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.
The Indian government says Amnesty is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. According to the Home Ministry, the organisation “got money into India through the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) route,” which is not allowed in the case of non-profits.
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