Hours after Amnesty International declared that it would halt operations in India and alleged a witch-hunt, the government said “human rights cannot be an excuse to defy the law of the land.”
“Amnesty is free to continue humanitarian work in India, as is being done by many other organisations. However, India, by settled law, does not allow 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,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
This morning, Amnesty alleged that its accounts were frozen earlier this month, so it was forced to let go of its staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work.
“The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the government of India, which it came to know on 10 September, brings all the work being done by the organisation to a grinding halt,” said the global rights watchdog.
“This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organisations by the government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations,” said Amnesty, claiming that it had complied with all Indian and international laws.
Amnesty linked all government action to its reports critical of the government; its recent reports raised questions on alleged rights violations during the February Delhi riots and in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.
The government said the statements made by Amnesty International “are unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth”.
It said the organisation had received foreign funding illegally. According to the home ministry, Amnesty International had received permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) only once and that too 20 years ago.