US seeks clarification over India's crackdown on Ford Foundation

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2015 23:51 IST

The US on Friday said it was concerned over the recent government directives pertaining to the Ford Foundation, an American charity, and Greenpeace, and has sought clarification from India.

“We remain concerned about the difficulties caused to civil society organisations by the manner in which the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act has been applied,” state department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters in response to a question.

She added, “We are concerned that this recent ruling limits a necessary and critical debate within Indian society and we are seeking a clarification on the issue from the appropriate Indian authorities.”

The ministry of home affairs has, in recent weeks, cancelled Greenpeace’s registration and frozen its accounts, accusing it of working against the economic interest of the country.

Last Wednesday, the ministry put Ford Foundation on a list of non-governmental organisations that must seek prior permission from the government for funding organisations and individuals in India.

A home ministry official said the government wanted to make sure the Ford Foundation funds were utilised for “bonafide welfare activities” and that it had been put on a watchlist on the basis of a report by the Gujarat government.

The Gujarat government has accused Ford Foundation, which is the chief backer of two NGOs founded by activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, of interfering in the internal affairs of the country.

In a statement, Ford Foundation said it was “confident about our work and compliance with the law and look forward to the outcome of this inquiry. If the government suggests methods by which we can strengthen and improve our grant-making processes, we will take appropriate steps to incorporate them.”

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