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India


Human Rights can't be excuse for defying the law of land: MHA

Human Rights can't be excuse for defying the law of land: MHA

New Delhi, Sep 29 (UNI) The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday said protecting the human rights cannot be an excuse for defying the law of the land.
Referring to the recent stand and statements made by Amnesty International as unfortunate, exaggerated and far from truth, the MHA said this institution had received permission under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) only once and that too, 20 years ago on December 19, 2000.
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, the Ministry said.
According to a statement issued by the Home Ministry, the Amnesty UK, in order to circumvent the FCRA regulations, 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, it added.
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. 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, said the statement.
'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,' a senior official of the Ministry said.
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, he added.
Amnesty is free to continue humanitarian work in India, as is being done by many other organisations. However, India, by settled law, does not allow interference in domestic political debates by entities funded by foreign donations and the FCRA law applies equally to all and it shall apply to Amnesty International as well, the Home Ministry clarified.
'India has a rich and pluralistic democratic culture with a free press, independent judiciary and tradition of vibrant domestic debate.
'People of India have placed unprecedented trust in the present government and Amnesty's failure to comply with local regulations does not entitle them to make comments on the democratic and plural character of India,' the MHA further said.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Tuesday said that it's works in India has been halted after the Government froze several bank accounts.
'The complete freezing of Amnesty International India's bank accounts by the Government of India, which it came to know on September 10, 2020, brings all the work being done by the organisation to a grinding halt", the organisation said in a statement on its website.
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