Human rights organization, Amnesty International states that it has been pushed to stop operations in India because of ‘reprisals’ from the government. The rights organization has called out the government for starting a “witch-hunt of human rights organizations”.
Amnesty told that the organization’s bank accounts have been frozen and has been forced to cut down on staff, and stop all campaign and research work. The Indian government has still not responded to the allegations.
Amnesty International harassed by the Indian government
“We are facing a rather unprecedented situation in India. Amnesty International India has been facing an onslaught of attacks, bullying and harassment by the government in a very systematic manner,” Rajat Khosla, the group’s senior director of research, advocacy and policy, told the BBC.
“This is all down to the human rights work that we were doing and the government not wanting to answer questions we raised, whether it’s in terms of our investigations into the Delhi riots, or the silencing of voices in Jammu and Kashmir.”
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The organizations report published last month told how Delhi police committed human rights violations during fatal riots between Hindus and Muslims over religious beliefs.
Amnesty International had previously called for the release of political leaders, activists and journalists who had been imprisoned and also called for restoring network communications back to full capacity in the region.
The rights organization had previously testified in front of a US Foreign Affairs Committee during a human rights hearing regarding South Asia, and relayed its findings showing illegal imprisonments, torture by the Indian forces in Kashmir.
Amnesty will legally fight Indian government
The rights group had run into problems with several government agencies in the past but holds that the freezing of its bank accounts this month was the last straw. Indian governments have been cautious of foreign funded non-profits organizations especially human rights organizations.
The group had suspended operations in India back in 2009 due to repeated rejection of their license to receive funding from overseas. The announcement comes amid growing unrest over free speech in India and could very well hurt India’s reputation of being a full-fledged democracy.
“India does not stand in good company with these moves it is making. We operate in over 70 countries, and the only other country previously that we had been forced to shut operations in was Russia in 2016,” held Mr Khosla. “I hope people around the world sit up and take notice. We are doing this with a very heavy heart, and a deep sense of anguish and grief.” Amnesty states that it will continue to fight its legal cases against the Indian government.
GVS News Desk with additional input by other sources