Home Global Village Amnesty International refuses to bow to Indian intimidation over Kashmir

Amnesty International refuses to bow to Indian intimidation over Kashmir

"The Modi government has made a very big attempt to crush Amnesty in India," Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International's secretary-general, told the media on a visit to Washington.

Amnesty

Amnesty International’s chief vowed Monday that the rights group would not be silenced on raising concerns about Kashmir despite what he called intimidation by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

India’s financial crime investigators recently accused Amnesty’s local branch of violating foreign exchange regulations through taking money from its London-based parent.

That claim came after Amnesty vocally criticized Modi’s Hindu nationalist government on Kashmir, which was India’s only Muslim-majority state until New Delhi stripped its autonomy last month.

India argues that the measures are temporary and have helped ensure calm in Kashmir, charging that rival Pakistan is trying to stir up trouble.

“The Modi government has made a very big attempt to crush Amnesty in India,” Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, told the media on a visit to Washington. “On the Kashmir question, on various human rights questions in India itself, we are not intimidated,” he said.

“While our colleagues in our Indian office are under stress, they are as committed, motivated and courageous as ever, if not more, as a result of the repression that we face.”

Read more: After Massacre at Gujarat, Modi’s has Programmed Pogrom for Kashmir

Modi’s government has cracked down on foreign non-governmental organizations since coming to power in 2014, suspending or banning thousands of groups, many working in health or the environment, for receiving money from abroad.

Naidoo, however, said that Amnesty — whose Bangalore office was raided last year — would survive in India as it has funding from local donors.

India’s financial crime investigators recently accused Amnesty’s local branch of violating foreign exchange regulations through taking money from its London-based parent.

Amnesty has faced heated criticism from India’s right wing for its stance on Kashmir, where authorities have largely shut down the internet, mobile service and initially also landlines. “It is a horrific thing to actually cut people’s legitimate way of communicating with each other completely,” Naidoo said.

Read more: Kashmir has seen over 700 protests since Article 370 move

“There are life-and-death issues associated with doing that. Whether it is family members needing to communicate with each other, being able to go to the doctor’s, this is something that governments need to stop doing,” he said.

“And, sadly, there are more and more governments doing it, and we need to speak out against this very strongly.” India argues that the measures are temporary and have helped ensure calm in Kashmir, charging that rival Pakistan is trying to stir up trouble.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk.

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