On Amnesty row, BJP leader quotes ex-PM Manmohan Singh to defend govt
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday refuted allegations by Amnesty International that it had to wind up its operations in India because of a witch hunt by the government and said the organisation was receiving funds from abroad in contravention of the Indian laws.
Amnesty International, in a statement, said that the freezing of its bank accounts by the Indian government, which it is learnt was done earlier this month, has brought its work to a juddering halt.
BJP’s national spokesperson Rajyavardhan Rathore said Amnesty International had set up four companies, and showed money received in their account as FDI.
The Enforcement Directorate started investigation after it learnt that money was being funnelled into the company’s accounts without any information or permission.
“The Reserve Bank of India told all banks that Amnesty should be put in the category for prior reference. Before receiving money from outside India they would need to be in the prior permission category. There has been shifty money transfer to the companies and there is suspected flow of money into the trust of the amnesty international,” Rathore said.
He said Amnesty International, which has alleged that it was targeted by the government for working on issues of human rights, has not clarified why money was coming into the bank accounts from abroad.
The BJP spokesperson also said that the organisation’s credentials were also questioned by the UPA government. He said questions about the organisation were raised thrice in Parliament during the UPA regime and each time the then ministers referred to their “questionable” working style.
“In 2009 during the UPA regime their licence was rejected for receiving foreign funds and the operation was suspended,” Rathore said.
He said any organisation can work in India, but they cannot be allowed to circumvent the laws.
“On July 31, 2004, the then MoS Home Shiprakash Jaiswal said accusations (about suppression of human rights) are made periodically by Amnesty international based in London. On 22 October 2008, in reply to a question about concerns on suppression of human rights, Shakeel Ahmed, MoS, Home, said the methods used by such organisations to gather information have been questioned. It is not the policy of India to react to such reports. On December 16, 2007, Ahmed again said methods used by such organisations to gather information have been often questioned, particularly as they are not free from bias,” Rathore said.