Government extends NGO crackdown to Catholic charity Caritas

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 23, 2015 14:40 IST

The Indian government has placed the Catholic charity Caritas on a government watch list, an official and news reports said Tuesday, in a growing crackdown on foreign organisations operating in the country.

A home ministry official told AFP that Caritas had violated India's foreign funding laws by financing groups that were working "against the country".

He said Caritas had been placed on a list of organisations needing prior government approval to receive or distribute funds in India, a move also reported by the Indian Exp.

"There was clear violation of foreign funding law," said the official, who asked not to be named, citing funding for groups which protested against a nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu.

The central government has launched a massive crackdown on non-governmental organisations, cancelling the foreign funding licences of nearly 9,000 charities in recent months.

It has also frozen the domestic and international bank accounts of Greenpeace India, although the domestic accounts were recently unfrozen on the orders of a court.

In April it placed the Ford Foundation, an American charitable organisation, on the same watch list as Caritas, saying it was funding groups which acted against the national interest.

No one at Caritas India was immediately available for comment.

The group has been operating in India for more than 50 years and works on health, education and poverty-related issues.

The Prime Minister has criticised what he calls "five-star activists" and a government intelligence report last year reportedly said they were working with foreign powers to undermine India's economic growth.

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