Bharatiya Kisan Union Under Scanner For Receiving Foreign Funds For Farmers' Protests
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India, 21 Dec 2020 11:43 AM GMT
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“BKU is being targeted by the central authorities for evoking a massive response from Indians and NRIs,” group’s President Joginder Singh Ugrahan said. “What wrong is there if our supporters working as truck drivers or pursuing other labour works send donations from overseas?”
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), the most prominent independent organisation behind the farmers' protests, has been asked to furnish the registration details that permit it to seek foreign funds, Hindustan Times reported.
This comes after the association, on December 6, had made a public appeal seeking financial help to continue the farmers' protests against the centre's three contentious farm laws.
The organisation has collected nearly Rs 8 lakh in the last two months in the personal bank account of Kokrikalan.
"A department under the Centre has sent an email which we received through our bank's branch in Punjab," General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said. "In the email, it was stated that we should give registration details in respect of these donations from abroad otherwise they will be sent back. The bank manager showed me the email which has been sent by the Forex Department."
However, Kokrikalan confirmed that his bank account was not registered as per the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, and that the forex department of Punjab and Sindh Bank received the notice on the foreign funds.
The farmers' union criticised the government's actions and said they were being targeted.
"BKU is being targeted by the central authorities for evoking a massive response from Indians and NRIs," group's President Joginder Singh Ugrahan said. "What wrong is there if our supporters working as truck drivers or pursuing other labour works send donations from overseas?"
The organisation also questioned the timing of the government's concerns on foreign funding, adding that the administration was "using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the agitation".
Ugrahan said that the income tax department first conducted raids on "arhtiyas [commission agents]" as they supported the farmers' protests, and now their organisation is being targetted.
"They are asking details about NRI funds," he said. "The NRIs from Punjab help us with donations from their hard-earned money. They are supporting our agitation, what is the problem in that? Back home too, people support us."
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said that the use of tax laws on farmer groups was the government's way to break the farmers' protest. Calling it "vendetta politics", the CM said it is obvious that having failed to "persuade, mislead and divide the farmers" into ending their protest, the government is now trying to weaken their struggle.
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