Photo: Instagram screengrab
Photo: Instagram screengrab

On Tuesday, Amnesty International India said that it was halting all its ongoing campaigns and research work as well as letting go of staff in the country.

"The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India which it came to know on 10 September 2020, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt," read an article on the Amnesty International India website.

According to the organisation, there have been repeated "attacks and harassment of Amnesty". In the post on its website the organisation cites a 10-hour-long raid by the Enforcement Directorate in October 2018, investigative letters sent to donors by the Department of Income Tax in early 2019, a CBI raid in November 2019 and more.

However, this is not the first time that Amnesty India has shut down. While some on Twitter stated that the organisation had closed five times in the last 50 years, the most recent instance perhaps is from 2009. At the time, the human rights watchdog had said that it was being ""forced" to close its doors because then then UPA government was not allowed it to get funding from its London Headquarters. Reportedly, Amnesty International's application for the same had been rejected twice since 2006.

There however appears to be some contradictions in the government account. Reportedly the Home Minister had told The New Indian Express at the time that Amnesty's application had been approved at least twice under the “prior permission” category. The report adds that while it had gotten permission in 2000 and then in 2003, there had been no approval in the UPA government's term, at least till 2009.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal