'CBI Searched Our Offices For Speaking Against Human Rights Violations': Amnesty India
On 15th November, Nobel prize-winning human rights group, Amnesty International’s India offices in Bengaluru and Delhi were searched by the CBI over alleged infringement of rules involving foreign funding.
Raids were carried at three places in Bengaluru and one place in Delhi.
“The CBI had registered a case on November 5 on a complaint received from the Home Ministry against: Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd, Indians For Amnesty International Trust, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and others,” the CBI said in a statement.
“It was alleged provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 and Indian Penal Code were contravened by these entities by receiving foreign contributions from Amnesty International UK through Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd,” it added.
“Foreign contributions were received even though prior registration was denied to Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and other trusts under FCRA,” it said.
Responding to the agency’s action, Amnesty members said that they were being attacked and targeted for addressing human rights violations in India.
“Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India,” Amnesty said in a statement.
“Amnesty India stands in full compliance with Indian and international law. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent,” it added.
For the last few years, Amnesty India has been under the scanner of investigation agencies over the purported breach of FCRA.
Even last year, the organisation’s Bengaluru office was raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“They were here for a few hours. They asked us a few questions and asked for a few documents. Whatever they wanted from us, we gave it to them. That is all we have to say for now. This is I think the fourth union government body that has come to pay us a visit. We will continue to cooperate with them and we have done absolutely nothing,” Amnesty India chief Akaar Patel said on the 16th of November.
A few weeks before the ED raid the offices of Amnesty in India, the premises of another international NGO, Greenpeace, was also checked.
Over the years, the BJP-led central government has begun the increased monitoring of many non-profit groups by cancelling or suspending licences on charges of falsifying reports on foreign donations.
In 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs had suspended environmental champion Greenpeace’s licence under the FCRA and froze all its bank accounts.