The United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee will next week hold a hearing on restrictions imposed by the Narendra Modi government on American charity Compassion International (CI).
India had in March 2016 stopped the flow of funds from CI to around 250 organisations it wanted to support in the country this year. The government partially lifted the restrictions in October, allowing ten organisations to receive funds from CI, after Secretary of State John Kerry took up the matter with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The Hindu had reported it first.
Indian security agencies say the funds were being used for religious conversions.
Issue that upset Obama regime
The Congressional hearing will bring into sharp focus an issue that has upset the Obama administration and several members of the Congress. Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a review of the curbs.
The partial relaxation in October has not satisfied the administration and members of Congress. The State Department said then that it would continue to push for a “more welcoming environment for NGOs.”
Mr. Royce, who is considered a strong supporter of India in Congress, and several other members, support the Christian charity that raises its funds mostly through small monthly donations. CI supports local NGOs that work among children in several countries.
U.S. always raises it
The issue continuously comes up in Indian interactions with the U.S interlocutors, according to sources familiar with the situation. The hearing titled ‘American Compassion in India: Government Obstacles’ on December 6 will have Stephen Oakley, General Counsel, Compassion International, John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch, and Irfan Nooruddin, Professor of Indian Politics, Georgetown University, as witnesses.