Bengaluru, Nov 15, 2019: Human rights group Amnesty International’s India office in Bengaluru has been raided by the CBI over alleged violation of rules involving foreign funding, sources said.
For the last few years, Amnesty International India has been under the scanner of investigation agencies over alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The human rights organisation’s Bengaluru office was raided by the Enforcement Directorate last year, NDTV reported.
In a statement, the Enforcement Directorate had said Amnesty International India bypassed the FCRA Act after it was denied permission from the Home Ministry. The agency had alleged the non-profit set up a floating commercial entity in the name of Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, which received Rs. 36 crore in foreign funds.
Last year, the premises of another international NGO, Greenpeace, were also raided by the Enforcement Directorate, weeks before its move against Amnesty.
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"This sort of action, trying to shut down Greenpeace and Amnesty within days of one another, doesn’t lead one to any other conclusion. I think this is an action in concert. I think this is aimed at something specific... the shutting down of free and open voices," Amnesty’s Akaar Patel had told NDTV last year.
Over the years, the BJP-led central government has increased surveillance on many non-profit groups, cancelling or suspending licences on charges of misreporting of donations.
In 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs had put the New York-based Ford Foundation on a watchlist and suspended environmental campaigner Greenpeace’s licence under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).