Skip to main content

Spectre of anti-nationalism raised, NGOs open to all manners of abuse with FCRA cancellation: ANHAD

A seminar organized by ANHAD in Delhi
By Our Representative
The Government of India canceled the foreign funding license of senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi's NGO, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) last week, on the basis of “field agency reports” which suggested that it carried out its activities against “national interest”, but it gave no supporting evidence.
Revealing this, ANHAD in a statement has said that the argument is neither legally nor procedurally valid, and is there “arbitrary and unacceptable”, fearing this kind of vague argument renders organizations such as ANHAD “open to all manners of abuse”, and is an effort to create a “sceptre of anti-nationalism” and a political climate “where dissent warrants swift retribution.”
ANHAD warns, the move “has the potential to undermine globally India’s reputation on human rights”, recalling that in April 2016, Maina Kiai, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, had insisted that “the ability to access foreign funding is an integral part of the right to freedom of association”, and foreign funding restrictions on NGOs in India are “not in conformity with international law principles and standards.”
An Indian socio-cultural organization established in March 2003 as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots, ANHAD's Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license was reportedly canceled along with that of Ahmedabad-based Dalit rights organization, Navsarjan Trust last week for carrying out what was called “undesirable activities aimed to affect prejudicially harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic, regional groups, castes or communities”.
Recalling how ANHAD’s FCRA was renewed in March 2016 following an inquiry from the Home Ministry in June 2014 and November 2015, the same thing has happened to several other “respected national civil society organisations whose FCRA registrations were similarly renewed and then canceled.”
Pointoug that these include Lawyers’ Collective, Sabrang Trust, Centre for Justice, People's Watch, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), Institute of Public Health (Bengaluru) and Navsarjan (Ahmedabad), ANHAD says, “The persons who lead these organisations are highly respected in the human rights community, including Indira Jaising, Henri Triphagne, Teesta Setlavad, Martin Macwan, Anand Grover among others.”
ANHAD is proud to join this roll-call of India’s dissenters against the communal, anti-Dalit, authoritarian and anti-poor government of the day. It is important to underline that no official list of these organizations has been released by the MHA, making what should have been a transparent and democratic process even more opaque and arbitrary.
Condemning the “deployment of the FCRA as a tool of repression”, ANHAD says, “The current FCRA registration cancellations are the most immediate example of this escalating problem, whereby the government maligns and criminalizes those very organizations and individuals that stand for human rights and liberal values.”
“The double standards of the government are exposed at a time when it thinks it is fine to have 100 per cent FDI in many areas including defence, but cannot accept dissenting organisations to have any access to funds”, ANHAD says, wondering, “If this is one world for capital, why is this not one world for liberal and progressive civil society?”
Calling cancellation of FCRA an “openly repressive draconian measures”, ANHAD says, it believes, the “cancellation of our FCRA is a badge of honour because it confirms the fact that our voices and solidarity with the most marginalized, with justice and truth, and with the Constitution of India.”

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.