The international human rights organization Amnesty International India has stopped its functioning in India on Tuesday.Amnesty International alleging that its bank accounts were frozen earlier this month by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as part of a “witch-hunt” by the government.
The continuing crackdown on @AIIndia over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental. This is not the end of Amnesty India’s commitment to human rights, we will not be silenced by the attacks of the government. pic.twitter.com/pgZprkfIfe
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) September 29, 2020
Amnesty issued a press release stating that ‘On behalf of the Government of India, the bank accounts of Amnesty International India have been completely frozen, which the institution has come to know on September 10. Due to this, the functioning of the organization has come to a complete halt. Amnesty International said that it was forced to remove its staff and had to shut down the campaigns and research in India.
The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India which it came to know on 10 September 2020, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt.
— Amnesty India (@AIIndia) September 29, 2020
Amnesty International India said, “we are following all Indian and international laws. For human rights work in India, the institution operates through a different model of raising funds domestically. In the last eight years, more than four million Indians have supported the work of Amnesty International India and around 100,000 Indians have made financial contributions.”
As per reports by BBC, Rajat Khosla, the group’s senior director of research, advocacy, and policy, “This is all down to the human rights work that we were doing and the government not wanting to answer questions we raised, whether it’s in terms of our investigations into the Delhi riots, or the silencing of voices in Jammu and Kashmir.”
In a report released last month, the group said police in the Indian capital, Delhi, committed human rights violations during deadly religious riots between Hindus and Muslims in February.
However, the government says that this institution has never registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, which is necessary for foreign funding.
Executive Director Avinash Kumar said that the attack on Amnesty International India and other outspoken human rights organizations, activists and human rights defenders reflects oppressive policy. The Enforcement Directorate and the Government of India are deliberately trying to create a situation of fear so that the voice can be suppressed.
Fifth time but won’t be the last. You can shut down the structure but not the idea. In Solidarity with @AIIndia You continued to fight the good fight despite all the pressure that came your way. https://t.co/J62pdezIau
— Sachin (@sachgreens) September 29, 2020
The ED has started a separate probe into the matter, after an FIR was lodged by by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in November 2019 on charges of an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The Agency had invoked the Prevention of Money Laundering Act this time against the organisation.
The statement said that, the organisation stands in full compliance with all applicable Indian and international laws. For human rights work in India, it operates through a distinct model of raising funds domestically, it said.