Amnesty International, the NGO and Human Rights organization announced closing down of its Indian branch. Amnesty International India is said to be laying off their entire staff as a result. The organization has stated that the Indian Government has initiated a series of reprisals which includes to the extent of freezing of their bank accounts. This forced Amnesty International to stop its India operations. Scroll down below to know why it’s operations closed down.
Amnesty International in India closes down its operations
According to Amnesty International in India, the present Government has constantly been targeting the organization for some time now. The organization is known to raise voice against human rights violations all over the world. And it’s Indian branch has also been doing the same in India. According to the NGO, this has not gone down well with the current Indian Government. Recently Amnesty International India has released controversial reports about the Delhi Police’s role in encouraging anti-Muslim violence and also Human Rights abuse in Kashmir.
Indian Government’s take on Amnesty International in India
According to the Indian Government, the reports of Amnesty International – Indian Branch, were “unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth.” According to government sources, the organization has seemed to violate Indian laws for receiving donations from foreign sources.
The Indian Government stated that – “All the glossy statements about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are nothing but a ploy to divert attention from their activities which were in clear contravention of laid-down Indian laws.”
Amnesty International – It takes on the Allegations
Amnesty International India rejected all such claims made by the Indian Government. According to NGO sources the Government’s campaign against them is nothing but a “witch hunt”. This has made the group unable to raise funds and operate effectively. The organization had also closed its operations in Russia in 2016. The NGO stated that there was a continuous effort from the Government for the past two years to stop them working in a usual manner and which has led to the freezing of their bank accounts eventually.
According to reports, Indian Government began to put restrictions on notable charitable organizations who sought foreign funding in 2014 itself. Officials of the Ruling Party have seemed to have regarded activities related to human rights and the environment as “anti-national.”
Government’s crackdown on NGOs like Amnesty International India
In 2018, the Home Ministry of India cancelled the licenses of close to 20,000 NGOs. Many of those organizations criticized the Government and raised questions about the Gujarat Riots in 2002. Previous Indian Governments had also targeted NGOs which raised voice against human rights. Now the opposition parties are criticizing the activities of the current Government.
Famous Political Activist, Mr. Shashi Tharoor has stated that – India’s reputation as a liberal democracy advocating freedom of speech and expression is tarnished. The institutions of free media and civil rights account for much of India’s soft power in the world. Rajat Khosla, Amnesty International India official, termed the events as unfortunate and is an attempt to tarnish India’s image as a major Democracy.
According to him, the crackdown on Amnesty International in India is an attempt to stifle the voices of Human Rights in the country. Mr. Khosla said that the organization had been intimidated by the Indian Government for a long time. According to him, they could only use their funds partially after the intervention of the court. Hence, with so many obstacles, Amnesty International India closed down its operations in India. It is hard to tell whether the closing down of such well-known human rights organizations are justified or not. But such incidents may raise eye brows in the Global Community! Leave your feedback on this.
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