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Govt hits back at Amnesty International, says human rights cannot be an excuse for defying law of the land

Govt hits back at Amnesty International, says human rights cannot be an excuse for defying law of the land

Govt hits back at Amnesty International, says human rights cannot be an excuse for defying law of the land
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By Yashi Gupta  Sept 29, 2020 8:02:57 PM IST (Updated)

In 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had carried out searches at the headquarters of Amnesty International in Bangalore. The raids were conducted for an alleged violation of the foreign exchange act.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday said that the stand taken and the statements made by Amnesty International are unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth.

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The statement came after Amnesty International halted its activities in India due to the freezing of its accounts by the government on September 10.
In 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had carried out searches at the headquarters of Amnesty International in Bangalore. The raids were conducted for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Act.
In a statement, the government said, "Amnesty International had received permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) only once and that too twenty years ago in December 2020. Since then Amnesty International, despite its repeated applications, has been denied FCRA approval by successive governments since as per law it is not eligible to get such an approval."
However, to circumvent FCRA regulations, Amnesty UK allegedly remitted large amounts of money to four entities registered in India, by classifying it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). A significant amount of foreign money was also remitted to Amnesty (India) without MHA’s approval under FCRA. This mala fide rerouting of money was in contravention of extant legal provisions.
"Owing to these illegal practices of Amnesty, the previous government had also rejected the repeated applications of Amnesty to receive funds from overseas. This had led Amnesty to suspend its India operations once during that period as well," the statement read.
This bipartisan and purely legal approach towards Amnesty, under different governments, makes it clear that the entire fault lies in the dubious processes adopted by Amnesty to secure funds for its operations.
"All the glossy statements about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are nothing but a ploy to divert attention from their activities which were in clear contravention of laid down Indian laws," stated the PIB report. "Such statements are also an attempt to extraneously influence the course of investigations by multiple agencies into the irregularities and illegalities carried out over the last few years."
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that after the company confounded the government of sustained assault on those who speak truth to power: "Amnesty is free to continue humanitarian work in India, as is being done by many other organizations. However, India, by settled law, does not allow interference in domestic political debates by entities funded by foreign donations."
This law applies equally to all and it shall apply to Amnesty International as well, the Ministry added, Amnesty’s failure to comply with local regulations does not entitle them to make comments on the democratic and plural character of India.
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