FCRA Amendment Bill Much Needed To Muzzle Anti-Hindu, Anti-India NGOs
The Opposition led by the Congress have alleged that the Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill is part of Narendra Modi government’s attempts to muzzle the voices of dissent against it.
Of course, people have constitutional rights to voice their dissent against the government, but if it becomes a part of anti-national and subversive activities, it should be muzzled outrightly.
Many NGOs are allegedly receiving large amounts of foreign funds for conversions, political works, lobbying and subversive activities.
The government has banned 14,500 NGs from receiving foreign funds from 2014 to 2019 for non-submission of mandatory annual returns for 2017-18.
The FCRA had made it mandatory under its rules that NGOs and associations have to file annual returns on time.
Many questions arise – Why haven’t these NGOs filed their annual returns on time? What are they hiding? Are they worried about their subversive and anti-national activities?
Of course, there are plenty of media reports exposing the anti-India and subversive activities of several NGOs in the past. A protest at Thoothukudi organised by an NGO had led to a loss of 11 lives. The anti-development role of this organisation has come under the government’s scanner.
Media also had exposed the anti-national acts of several top NGOs, including one set up by anti-Modi activist Teesta Setalvad and radical Islamist preacher Zakir Naik. They were booked by the National Investigation Agency.
There is a strong evidence about Zakir Naik’s role in Delhi riots. Khalid Saifi, one of the accused in the riots, met the Islamist preacher abroad and sought his support for inciting riots in Delhi.
Zakir Naik is a fugitive living in Malaysia for more than three years and has permanent residency in the Southeast Asian country. India, on May 14 last year, had requested Malaysia to extradite him. He is facing charges of hate speech in India and money laundering.
Since moving to Malaysia, Zakir Naik has allegedly received funding for the International Islamic Research from Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan, during anti-CAA protests.
On the other hand, Teesta was accused of receiving foreign funds from Ford Foundation, after which her Sabrang Trust’s licence was cancelled.
The Ford Foundation is alleged to have encouraged Teesta’s NGOs to promote communal disharmony.
As per the findings of the Supreme Court monitored SIT, Teesta is accused of cooking up cases of violence and tutoring false witnesses to give evidence about imaginary incidents. The SIT had charged her of “cooking up macabre tales of killings”.
Teesta also has been accused of manipulating evidence in the form of statements of witnesses in post-Godhra riots, as per her former aide Rais Khan Pathan, who had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2011.
She has been accused of siphoning off donations (Rs 63 plus Rs 88 lakhs) collected from various domestic and international organisations in the name of riot victims.
Amnesty International, the British human rights watch organization, is yet another NGO, which indulges in anti-India activities.
The NGO has been working in India with a clear prejudice against anything Indian. It has been actively involved in widespread anti-India and anti-Hindu propaganda. It comes up with columns that expose their intrinsic hatred for India.
Amnesty International India’s Aakar Patel has been one of the strongest propagandists of the fake narrative of Hindu terror. In one of his articles, Aakar linked Giriraj Singh’s comments on Indian obsession with white skin to extremism and terrorism by Hindus.
He also provoked Muslims to resort to violence and riots, by spreading lies about Citizenship Amendment Act, police brutality, arbitrary detention under repressive or colonial laws and ill-treatment of Muslims in detention.
Some other NGOs who have indulged in anti-national activities are – Kadava Patidar Kuldevi Shree Umiya Mataji Sansthan, Anjuman Education Trust, Shree Krishna Gau Trust and Young Men’s Christian Association, among others including Lawyers Collective, which was an an initiative of senior lawyer and former ASG Indira Jaising.
Indira Jaisingh is accused of receiving money from the Popular Front of India in connection with the protests against CAA. The Enforcement Directorate had claimed that at least Rs 120 crore was deposited in the accounts of the PFI in Western Uttar Pradesh after the CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11 last year.
The ED alleged that scrutiny of PFI account with the Syndicate Bank branch in Kerala revealed that payments of Rs 3.77 crore were made to various individuals and persons, which included payments to Kapil Sibal (Rs 77 lakh), Indira Jaising (Rs 4 lakh), Dushyant Dave (Rs 11 lakh), PFI Kashmir (Rs 1.65 crore), New Jyothi Group (1.17 crore), and a person called Abdul Samad (Rs 3.10 lakh).
Samad is an accused against whom the National Investigation Agency has filed a chargesheet in a case related to a hawala network funding terror activities in India.
Some other NGOs and associations are accused of indulging in religious conversion activities in tribal-dominated areas.
Due to these anti-India and anti-Hindu activities of NGOs including the above, the government felt the need for streamlining the provisions of the Act. Therefore, it cancelled the FCRA licences of these above mentioned NGOs after they were found violating the norms under the Act.
The government, to tighten the grip on anti-India and anti-Hindu NGOs further, has made mandatory providing Aadhar numbers of the office-bearers of any NGO for registration and public servants will be barred from receiving funds from abroad.
The bill also proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate. The draft bill also proposes that not more than 20 per cent of the total foreign funds received could be spent on administrative expenses. Presently, the limit is 50 per cent.
Government has sought amendment to clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Act to include public servant also within its ambit, to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by them.
Earlier it was restricted to legislators, election candidates, journalists, print and broadcast media, judges, government servants or employees of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the government.
It has also sought to prohibit any transfer of foreign contribution to any other association or person.
Amendment of Section 17 of the Act has sought to provide that every person who has been granted certificate or prior permission under Section 12 shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as ‘‘FCRA Account’’ which shall be opened by him in such branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi, as the Central Government may, by notification, specify.
It has, however, allowed the organisation to transfer these funds to another account for utilisation.
The government has also sought to give itself considerable powers in deciding which organisation, if it has obtained prior permission from the government for foreign contribution, shall cease to utilise its funds.
The amendment sought to Section 11 of the Act gives government powers to stop utilisation of received but unutilised funds following a “summary enquiry”. Earlier it was supposed to be done only after the person or association had been “found guilty” of violation of the Act.
“Provided that the Central Government, on the basis of any information or report, and after holding a summary inquiry, has reason to believe that a person who has been granted prior permission has contravened any of the provisions of this Act, it may, pending any further inquiry, direct that such person shall not utilise the unutilised foreign contribution or receive the remaining portion of foreign contribution which has not been received or, as the case may be, any additional foreign contribution, without prior approval of the Central Government,” the amendment sought to Section 11 says in the Bill.
Regarding suspension of registration under the Act, the amendment to Section 13 has sought to give the government the power to decide on the period of suspension beyond 180 days.
“In section 13 of the principal Act, in sub-section (1), for the words ‘for such period not exceeding one hundred and eighty days as may be specified’, the words ‘for a period of one hundred and eighty days, or such further period, not exceeding one hundred and eighty days, as may be specified’ shall be substituted,” the Bill has said.
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