Amensty Internation halts operations in India, alleges government ‘witch-hunt’

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Human rights organisation Amnesty International India on Tuesday said that it has decided to halt its operation as its bank accounts have been frozen as part of the government’s “witch-hunt”.

“The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the government of India, which it came to know on 10 September, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt”, the organisation said in a statement.

The decision which came after the recent move by the Enforcement Directorate to freeze the organisation’s accounts will impact about 150 employees. It said, “compelled to let go off staff in India”.
The government says the global rights watchdog never registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, which is required for any foreign funding.

Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty International India the crackdown on the organisation is a result of “our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government”.

“The constant harassment by government agencies including the Enforcement Directorate is a result of our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of the Delhi police and the Government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in Delhi riots and Jammu & Kashmir. For a movement that has done nothing but raised its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent,” he said.

The development comes a month after the organisation exposed the role of the Delhi Police in the anti-Muslim riots that took place in northeast Delhi in February and alleged bias in the probe being out carried by them.

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