Skip to main content

British PM must raise issues of "fevered crackdown on critics in India" during talks with Modi: Amnesty International

UK protest against Modi
By Our Representative
On the first day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London, top human rights organization Amnesty International has said that his British counterpart David Cameron needs to do “more than unfurl the red carpet for yet another world leader.” Allan Hogarth, Head of Policy at Amnesty UK, said, “Cameron must raise some red flags on human rights concerns, too.”
“It’s all the more important that Cameron speaks out on human rights during the visit, as there’s not much space for criticism in Modi’s India”, Hogarth said, adding, “There’s a fevered crackdown on critics underway in India at the moment. NGOs and activists face multiple obstructions to carrying out their work, including being subjected to smear campaigns, having their funding cut off and being accused of being anti-national.”
Hogarth said, “Over 10,000 organisations have been ‘de-registered’ over the last year to prevent them from receiving foreign funding, and just last week Greenpeace had its license to operate cancelled. Cameron should speak out for the people Modi is so intent on silencing and make it clear that how a country treats its NGOs is a litmus test for their international standing.”
Amnesty said, “India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) requires organisations that receive funding from overseas to seek prior approval from the government. The law is used to harass and target organisations.”
It added, “In 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the FCRA registration of thousands of NGOs for allegedly violating provisions of the law. The government’s most prominent target has been Greenpeace India, but over 10,000 other organisations have also been ‘de-registered’.”
Amnesty noted, “In July 2014, the government restricted Greenpeace India’s international funding, claiming that its activities were ‘detrimental to the national interest’,”, adding, “In April the government ordered Greenpeace India’s bank accounts to be frozen and suspended its FCRA registration on the grounds that its activities had prejudicially affected the public interest and economic interest of the State.”
The human rights organization particularly took strong exception to how last Friday, “following a sustained attack on their operations, harassment of their staff and a string of obstructions to their work, Greenpeace’s license to operate in India was withdrawn.”
Giving latest examples of harassment, Amnesty said, “Journalist Santosh Yadav is facing a charge of ‘sedition’, (encouraging disaffection towards the government) a charge which has been levelled against journalists and activists in India. He was arrested in September in the conflict-torn state of Chhattisgarh in central India, on what Amnesty International believes are fabricated charges.”
Yadav, said Amnesty, “was targeted because of his investigatory journalism exposing police brutality against Adivasis (indigenous communities). He has been charged under laws, which the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders has called for the repeal of.”
Referring to the “targeting” of well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, Amnesty said, her organization, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), which has been “seeking justice for the victims and survivors of violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002, when an outbreak of violence led to the killing of at least 1044 people, mostly Muslims”, has been called “a threat to national security and dragged through the courts.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.