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FCRA nod for seven NGOs revoked

The Home Ministry on Thursday continued with its flip-flop over grant of permits to NGOs for accepting foreign funding, reversing permission given to seven more NGOs, even as a group of activists and voluntary sector organisations demanded the abolition of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Among the NGOs, who lost the FCRA permits given online earlier, was ANHAD (Act Now For Harmony and Democracy) run by social activist Shabnam Hashmi.

The latest decisions come a day after the Union Home Ministry cancelled similar renewal of FCRA licences granted to Greenpeace India, and two NGOs run by activist Teesta Setalvad. The Ministry has now claimed that these NGOs were inadvertently granted online renewal by mistake. The Ministry had also ordered the review of the renewals given to over 13,000 NGOs for accepting foreign funds.

On Thursday, the government crackdown was targeted against ANHAD, Marwar Muslim Education and Welfare Society, Gujarat-based Navsarjan Trust, Rural Development Research Centre (RDRC), Ahmedabad, and three others.

Home Ministry sources said these licenses were cancelled because an enquiry found that despite them being placed under restricted list based on adverse intelligence input, their FCRA license was renewed online.

‘A draconian law’

A group of activists and organisations on Thursday condemned the government’s ongoing cancellation of FCRA licences. “We unequivocally condemn the present use of the FCRA as a tool of repression by the current government. The State is following a systematic and sustained agenda of suppressing those very dissenting voices that have consistently challenged the system,” said a statement signed by Magasaysay award winner and activist Aruna Roy, author and historian Ramchandra Guha, Amnesty International’s India chapter and others.

The signatories said the FCRA was a draconian and repressive law, and must be revoked.