The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on September 29 said that Amnesty International had been denied approval under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by successive governments due to its ineligibility as per Indian laws, adding that the organisation had received approval under the law only once, in December 2000.
The government's clarification comes in the wake of Amnesty International India's announcement earlier the same day that it had to shut down its operations in the country as its accounts had been frozen by the government. The human rights organisation alleged that the government had taken this action as part of its "incessant witch-hunt".
The home ministry said, "In order to circumvent the FCRA regulations, Amnesty UK remitted large amounts of money to four entities registered in India, by classifying it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). A significant amount of foreign money was also remitted to Amnesty (India) without MHA’s approval under FCRA. This mala fide rerouting of money was in contravention of extant legal provisions."
Further, the MHA said that while Amnesty was free to continue humanitarian work in India, the country's laws do not permit the interference of entities funded by foreign donations in domestic political debates. It also blamed Amnesty's "dubious processes" to secure funds for operations and its failure to comply with local regulations as the reason behind the shuttering of its operation in India."Amnesty’s failure to comply with local regulations does not entitle them to make comments on the democratic and plural character of India," the statement noted.