Human rights organisation Amnesty International India on Tuesday announced that it has been “compelled to let go off staff in India” and halt all its work as its bank accounts have been frozen as part of the government’s “witch-hunt”.
The organisation stated that it was forced to shut down its operations after the India government completely froze Amnesty International India’s bank accounts, which it came to know on 10 September, 2020.
"This is latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organisations by the government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations," Amnesty International India said in a release on Tuesday. This is the fifth time the organisation has been forced to halt its operations by successive governments by squeezing finances.
"The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental.
The constant harassment by government agencies including the Enforcement Directorate is a result of our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of the Delhi police and the government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in Delhi riots and Jammu and Kashmir. For a movement that has done nothing but raise its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent," said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India.
Amnesty India linked all government action to its reports critical of the government. Its recent reports raised questions on alleged rights violations during the February Delhi riots and in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. In a report that was published last month, the group said Delhi police had committed human rights violations during deadly religious riots between Hindus and Muslims in February. Delhi police called the report, "lopsided, biased and malicious".
Amnesty is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate over alleged irregularities in receiving foreign funds, NDTV reported.