Human rights organization Amnesty International has halted all its work in the Indian subcontinent after its bank accounts were frozen by the Enforcement Directorate.
Following an FIR by the CBI which was filed in November 2019 on charges of an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the ED had initiated the probe last year. The FIR, then, has been converted in an ECIR alleging money laundering and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act has been invoked.
In its press release, Amnesty International India said they came to know about the freezing of bank accounts on September 10. It is “latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the Government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations”.
With operations coming to a halt, all the staff have been let go off. The current research projects and campaigns which work for the marginalized have been paused.
Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India, has said that this move is “not accidental” and 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”.
This is not the first time that Amnesty has come under the radar of the ED. On October 25, 2018, their office was raided by the ED for 10 hours. In early 2019, the Income Tax department had sent investigative letters to 30 donors which affected their fundraising campaigns. After selective documents were leaked to the media, the organization has also alleged media trials.