Sunday, March 7, 2021

Amnesty International bank accounts closed by India

Government 'harassment' is making it impossible for Amnesty to continue its work in India.

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Amnesty International  is claiming the Indian government is conducting a witch hunt against it and other human rights organisations.

The global watchdog says it has been forced to halt its India operations due to “reprisals” by India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Amnesty claims the bank account of its India office has been frozen by the government, forcing it to fire staff and call off important campaign and research work.

“Amnesty International India has been facing an onslaught of attacks, bullying and harassment by the government,” Rajat Khosla, the group’s senior director of research, advocacy and policy, told the BBC.

Governments in India have always looked askance at foreign funded NGOs, particularly human rights organisations.

The current government has previously stated that Amnesty was being investigated over suspicions that the group was violating Indian laws surrounding foreign funding.

Amnesty denies all such allegations.

“We operate in over 70 countries, and the only other country previously that we were forced to shut operations in was Russia,” said Khosla. “I hope people around the world sit up and take notice.”

Avinash Kumar, executive director of Amnesty International India, said in a statement on Tuesday, “The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is a result of our calls for transparency in the government regarding the grave human rights violations in the Delhi riots and Jammu & Kashmir.

“For a movement that has done nothing but raise its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent.”

The government has yet to respond to the accusations or requests for comment.

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