Row likely to stall FCRA request

The sedition case filed against Amnesty International in Bengaluru could complicate things for the human rights advocacy group as the Home Ministry is unlikely to allow its Indian arm to be registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), thereby denying it access to foreign funds. Another proposal of Amnesty International to open a regional headquarters in Delhi is also pending. Both the proposals, a top Home Ministry official told The Hindu, are unlikely to be cleared now.

The official said it was not only the sedition case but the 2015 Kashmir report, prepared by Amnesty International, which influenced their decision. The report, Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir apparently “documents the obstacles to justice faced in several cases of human rights violations believed to have been committed by Indian security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. It focuses particularly on Section 7 of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA), which grants virtual immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution for alleged human rights violations.”

In the past, office bearers of Amnesty International India have had many meetings with senior home ministry officials on the two proposals.

Most of Amnesty International India operations here are possible because of domestic donations. In case it wants to receive foreign funds, it has to seek permission from the home ministry, explained the official. In 2014, home ministry had blocked around Rs 3 crore of foreign funds to Amnesty after it was found that one of its donor was registered in tax haven of Gibraltar.

This is not the first time Amnesty faces a situation where it has been unsuccessful in obtaining FCRA clearance. During Congress led UPA-I, Amnesty Intrenational India applied for FCRA registration twice, but both times the application was rejected because of “adverse inputs.”

As per Amnesty International India’s website, its first office was established in 1966 in Bihar, barely five years after the organization came into being. “Amnesty International India operates through two entities — a charitable trust and a tax-paying private limited company,” the website says. As per its website, in 2009, the office in New Delhi had to close down, partly due to problems with receiving funding from the Amnesty International global movement.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 1:30:18 PM |

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