20:42 GMT01 December 2020
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    India’s economic intelligence agency has issued a notice to the Indian arm of UK-based Amnesty International for allegedly violating foreign exchange laws. The Foreign Exchange Management Act violation is related to the NGO allegedly violating borrowing and lending regulations in dealing with its parent body in the guise of service exports.

     India’s economic intelligence agency (ED) conducted a search of the premises of Amnesty International in Bengaluru and claims to have uncovered a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) contravention amounting to 517.2 mln INR ($7.21 million).

    The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in 2018, cracked down on several volunteer organisations for violating its order to only maintain accounts in 32 designated banks. India’s Home Ministry had directed all non-government organisations, business entities and individuals which receive funds from abroad, to use 32 banks which had been designated as transparent.

    Amnesty has been highly critical of the Indian government over its alleged suppression of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir, where New Delhi recently stripped the state of its constitutionally-guaranteed quasi-autonomous status. The human rights watchdog has also been critical of a move to single out illegal migrants in Assam and introduce a new anti-terrorism law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which provides sweeping powers to the federal government to designate any individual as a terrorist.

    ​“India has the dubious honour of being among those countries which suppress human rights works under the pretext of outlawing foreign “influence’”, said Aakar Patel of Amnesty India a few months ago.  “The oppressive Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, which restricts how civil society organisations can access foreign funding, has often been used to curb dissent and immobilise human rights organisations that expose violations and speak the truth to [people in] power.”

    India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had also carried out raids at the premises of two prominent human rights lawyers, Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover, for their alleged violation of foreign funding rules.


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    human rights, foreign exchange, Amnesty International, New Delhi, India
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