NGOs urge Modi to review crackdown

Civil society organisations have written an open letter to the Prime Minister to “urgently review all orders placing restraints on organisations, and revoke such orders where due process has not been followed by the government”.

The organisations have referred to the cases of some widely known outfits like Greenpeace and Ford Foundation, among others.

“Initiate an immediate dialogue between the NGO sector and Government to address our concerns going forward. Amend the presently opaque FCRA rules and regulations,” the NGOs have demanded.

The letter which has been signed by most of the known NGOs has alleged that “civil society organisations in general and their support systems, including donors, are being labeled and targeted”.

“Funds are being frozen, intelligence reports are being selectively released to paint NGOs in poor light, disbursal of funds is being subjected to case-by-case clearance, and their activities are reportedly being placed on ‘watch lists.’ As a result several NGO projects have shut down, donors are unable to support work, and there is an overall atmosphere of State coercion and intimidation in India’s civil society space,” said the letter. 

“Many of us receive both Indian and foreign donations in compliance with laws and carry out activities intended to help those marginalised in India’s development. Many of us have partnered with Government, both at State and Central levels, towards many goals,” it said.

“There is irrefutable documentary evidence that State action against select organisations has been arbitrary, non-transparent, and without any course of administrative redress,” the letter said.

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