The CBI on Friday raided Amnesty India’s offices in Delhi and Bangalore over alleged violation of foreign funding laws, prompting the rights group to say it was being targeted for speaking out against human rights violations in India.
“Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India,” Amnesty India said in a statement.
The central agency conducted searches at the offices of Amnesty International India Private Limited and Indians for Amnesty International Trust.
In June this year, Amnesty International had released a report titled “Tyranny of A ‘Lawless Law’” that criticised the Public Safety Act, which allows lengthy detention without trial and under which hundreds have been held in Kashmir.
Amnesty said the law was a breach of international human rights laws and that its misuse and the failure of the judiciary to prevent such abuse had contributed to the “already widespread fear and alienation felt by people” in Kashmir.
On Friday night, the CBI spokesperson said the agency had on November 5 registered a case on a home ministry complaint against Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL), Indians For Amnesty International Trust, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust, Amnesty International South Asia Foundation and unknown others.
“It was alleged that the provision of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, and Indian Penal Code were contravened by the aforesaid entities by receiving foreign contributions from Amnesty International UK through AIIPL even though prior registration or permissions were denied to Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and other trusts under FCRA,” the agency spokesperson said.
He said searches had been conducted at three places in Bangalore and one place in Delhi. The CBI raid comes a year after the Enforcement Directorate had raided Amnesty India’s Bangalore office over similar allegations.
“Amnesty India stands in full compliance with Indian and international law. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance and dissent,” the Amnesty India statement said.
“As part of the Nobel Prize-winning movement, Amnesty India holds itself to the highest evidentiary standards. Over four million Indians have supported Amnesty India’s work in the last six years and around 100,000 Indians have made financial contributions. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold universal human rights and build a global movement of people who take injustice personally.”
Amnesty had said that its June report was based on an analysis of 210 instances of detention under the PSA between 2012 and 2018. The law prohibits the detention of children but Amnesty documented several purported cases where minors, some as young as 14, were knowingly detained.
In 90 per cent of the cases analysed, the report says, the detainees faced both PSA confinement and criminal proceedings concurrently on the basis of the same or similar allegations.