The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the FCRA registration of a Vadodara-based NGO that was accused by the Gujarat police of illegally converting members of the Hindu community, funding the anti-CAA protests and for criminal activities to strengthen Islam.
The registration of two other Christian NGOs — the New Hope Foundation, based in Tamil Nadu, and Holy Spirit Ministries from Karnataka were also cancelled.
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of AFMI Charitable Trust was cancelled by the MHA for violating the provisions of the Act. FCRA is mandatory for associations and non-government organisations (NGOs) to receive foreign funds.
In November, the Special Operations Group of Vadodara police filed a chargesheet against Salahuddin Sheikh, managing trustee of the Trust for allegedly misusing foreign funds and diverting the money through hawala route for illegal activities such as providing legal aid to those arrested during the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020.
Recently, MHA had put 10 Australian, American and European donors on its watchlist, following which the Reserve Bank of India wrote to all banks that any funds sent by the foreign donors should be brought to the notice of the Ministry and not cleared without its permission.
All the donors that were placed on the watchlist or “prior reference category” work in the field of climate change, environment and child rights. The donors include the European Climate Foundation, U.S.-based Omidyar Network International, Humanity United and Stardust foundation, Australia based NGOs Walk Free Foundation and Minderoo Foundation and UK-based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Freedom fund and Laudes foundation and UK/UAE based Legatum fund.
In 2020, the MHA had amended the FCR Act and brought in several changes that barred NGOs from transferring funds to other NGOs.
Registered NGOs can receive foreign contribution for five purposes — social, educational, religious, economic and cultural. An FCRA registration is mandatory for NGOs to receive foreign funds. There are 22,591 FCRA registered NGOs.