New Delhi, October 1
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday took on the UK High Commission and the European Union for raising the issue of banning operations of Amnesty in India.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has also questioned the decision to shut down its operations.
“All such organisations are expected to adhere to all laws including for foreign funding as they would do in the US, the UK and the EU,” pointedly observed MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at the weekly media briefing on Thursday.
“We expect other governments won’t condone the contravention of Indian laws by any entity,” he added while referencing the Union Home Ministry’s stand that Amnesty UK circumvented FCRA regulations by transmitting large amounts to four entities registered in India, by classifying it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
Amnesty and Greenpeace have been locked in a confrontation with the Central government since late 2018 when the Enforcement Directorate raised their offices and froze their bank accounts.
In addition, the MHA said a significant amount was also remitted to Amnesty (India) without MHA’s approval under FCRA.
“This mala fide rerouting of money was in contravention of extant legal provisions. Owing to these illegal practices of Amnesty, the previous government had also rejected the repeated applications of Amnesty to receive funds from overseas,” the MHA had said earlier.
Amnesty International had called the freezing of its Indian outfit’s account as a “witch hunt” but the government has said laws don’t permit interference in domestic political debates by entities funded by foreign donations.
“This law applies equally to all and it shall apply to Amnesty International as well. Amnesty’s failure to comply with local regulations does not entitle them to make comments on the democratic and plural character of India,” the Home Ministry had said earlier.