Amnesty International says it is halting work in India due to a “continuing crackdown” and “harassment” by the BJP led NDA government.
The human rights watchdog said the bank account of its India branch has been frozen by the government, forcing it to lay off staff and stop campaign and research work in the South Asian nation.
It also accused the government of running an “incessant witch hunt” campaign against human rights organisations over “unfounded and motivated” allegations. The group said it has been facing a crackdown over the past two years over allegations of financial wrongdoing that it said were baseless. Its bank accounts were frozen on September 10, the group said.
“The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India, in a statement on Tuesday.
Amnesty said the federal financial crimes investigation agency, the Enforcement Directorate, had targeted it. “The constant harassment by government agencies including the Enforcement Directorate is a result of our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of the Delhi police and the Government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in Delhi riots and Jammu & Kashmir.
“For a movement that has done nothing but raise its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent.”
Amnesty and other groups have accused police of complicity in the riots in Delhi in which at least 50 people were killed, most of them Muslims.
The Indian government has so far not commented on Amnesty’s allegations.