Amnesty International says it has been forced to stop its India operations due to “reprimand” from the government.
The watchdog has also accused the government of indulging in a “witch-hunt of human rights organizations”.
Amnesty says its bank accounts have been frozen and forced to lay off employees in the country, and all its operations and research operations have been suspended.
The government is not yet responding to the allegations.
“We are facing an unprecedented situation in India. Amnesty International India is facing attacks, bullying and harassment by the government in a very systematic way,” said Rajat Khosla, group senior director of research, advocacy and policy Told. BBC.
“It is a deficiency in all the human rights work that we were doing and the government did not want to answer the questions raised by us, whether it was in the context of our investigation into the Delhi riots, or silencing voices in Jammu and Kashmir. To do. “
The group said that police in the Indian capital Delhi violated human rights during the deadly religious riots between Hindus and Muslims in February.
Reiterating the claims, Delhi Police told The Hindu newspaper that Amnesty’s report was “false, biased and malicious”.
In 2019, the watchdog testified before the US Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing on human rights in South Asia, where it highlighted its findings on arbitrary sanctions, and the use of excessive force and atrocities in Kashmir.
Amnesty has also repeatedly condemned what he says is a crack of discontent in India.
The group, which has faced scrutiny by different government agencies over the past few years, says the work of freezing its bank accounts earlier this month was the final straw.
In August 2016, a sedition case was filed against Amnesty India alleging that anti-India slogans were raised in one of its programs. Three years later, a court ordered the removal of the charge.
In October 2018, the group’s offices in the southern city of Bangalore were raided by the Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial crimes. Its accounts were also frozen, but Amnesty says it was able to reach them after the court sought intervention.
In early 2019, the group says that dozens of its small donors were sent letters by the country’s income tax department. And later in the same year, Amnesty’s offices were raided again, this time based on a case filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs of India, by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Successful governments in India have been wary of foreign funded nonprofits, especially human rights organizations.
The rules surrounding obtaining foreign funds have been tightened over the years, and thousands of nonprofit groups have been banned from receiving funds from abroad.
The current government has previously said that Amnesty was being investigated based on suspicion that the group was violating Indian laws surrounding foreign funds.
“Khosla told the BBC,” This is a lie. Amnesty India is in full compliance with all domestic legal requirements and international legal requirements.
The group’s announcement comes amid growing concern over the state of free speech in India. Evolutionists say that India can dent the long standing reputation of being a thriving democracy.
“Khosla says,” India does not stand in good company with these moves. We are operating in more than 70 countries, and earlier in 2016 Russia was forced to cease operations. “I hope people around the world sit and take notice. We are doing this with a heavy heart, and a deep sense of anguish and mourning.”
The group says it will continue to contest its legal matters in India.
- Amnesty International