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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three 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.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?