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About 38 NGOs blacklisted, no active foreign-funded group supports China: West Bengal

The Union Home Ministry had asked the state government to identify NGOs working against national interests on the India-Bangladesh border, in Darjeeling and on tribal issues in Sundarbans

December 29, 2021 / 09:32 AM IST
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

In a bid to allay national security concerns, the West Bengal government has informed the Centre that no active foreign-funded organisations in Darjeeling or adjoining areas are supporting projects concerning China and there are about 38 blacklisted non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the state.

The Union Home Ministry had asked the state government to identify NGOs working against national interests on the India-Bangladesh border, in Darjeeling and on tribal issues in Sundarbans, The Economic Times reported.

According to the report, the state police has informed that 21 cases were registered against various NGOs in West Bengal between 2018 and 2021. The cases were being investigated, said the Police, but it was not sure if any one of these NGOs was foreign funded.

The NGOs were probed for offences including impersonation, cheating, forgery and misappropriation of funds, the report said.

Reportedly, the Enforcement Directorate in Kolkata was further asked to identify NGOs under investigation for getting foreign funding.

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"We are doing the identification work and reports are being prepared. All the agencies are working in coordination in Bengal and that is why we have seen certain arrests in the recent past. However, this is confidential information and it cannot be shared in detail," the report said quoting a police official.

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Amendment Act (FCRA), 2020, allows the government to direct the violator not to use the funds by holding a "summary inquiry". Earlier, it was done only after the person or association was "found guilty" of violation of the Act, the report suggested.

According to the home ministry, the annual inflow of foreign contribution was more than Rs 58,000 crore between 2016-17 and 2018-19.

The Centre has recently blocked Mother Teresa's charity from receiving foreign funds, saying the Catholic organization did not meet conditions under local laws. In a statement, the home ministry said that the Missionaries of Charity's application for renewing a license that allows it to get funds from abroad was rejected on Christmas. It said that it came across adverse inputs while considering the charity's renewal application. It did not elaborate.

Earlier on December 27, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, sparked outrage when she tweeted that the government had frozen the bank accounts of the charity. But the government soon clarified that it had not frozen any accounts.

The charity confirmed in a statement that the government had not frozen its accounts but added that its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act renewal application had not been approved. It further asked its centers not to operate any of the (foreign contribution) accounts until the matter is resolved.

Earlier in December, the Missionaries of Charity, which Mother Teresa started in Kolkata in 1950, found itself under investigation in the western state of Gujarat following complaints that girls in its shelters were forced to read the Bible and recite Christian prayers. The charity has denied the allegations.

The charity runs hundreds of shelters that care for some of the world’s neediest people who Mother Teresa had described as the poorest of the poor.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 29, 2021 09:32 am
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