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Amnesty India ceases operations in response to government witch hunt

Amnesty International announced on Tuesday that it has closed it's Indian offices after the government froze its bank accounts as part of their crackdown on human rights defenders and organisations. 

Amnesty described the Indian government’s campaign against activist organisations, as a “witch hunt,” adding that fund-raising and operating have been made impossible. The actions, they believe, are in response to “unequivocal calls for transparency in the government.” And exposing human rights violations by publishing reports on the Delhi police’s role in fomenting anti-Muslim violence and torture in Kashmir.

The Indian government responded in a statement that the allegations from Amnesty were “unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth,” citing repeated violations of the country’s rules on foreign funding, which are intended to combat money laundering as the pretext for the freezing Amnesty’s bank accounts.

The statement continued, “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.”

Amnesty International India denied the accusations stating, “The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years […] is not accidental.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government began introducing restrictions on foreign donation seeking NGO’s in 2014, then in 2018, the licenses of nearly 20,000 nongovernmental organizations were cancelled by the Indian Home Affairs Ministry.

Harsh Mander, an Indian human rights activist, said “This government is openly at war with the people” adding the government was targeting activists to crush the remaining dissident voices.

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