NHRC issues notice to MHA over Amnesty ‘witch-hunt’

Dr. Kafeel Khan also writes letter of solidarity with Amnesty which shut down its operations in India after its bank accounts were frozen by the regime


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in connection with the winding up of Amnesty International’s operations in India after taking suo motu cognizance of the matter.

The NHRC stated in a press release, “According to media reports that the complete freezing of its India bank accounts the Amnesty International Organization in India has reportedly halted all the work in which it has been engaged in the country. In a statement the organization has stated that it has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work. It is alleged that this is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the Govt. of India over unfounded and motivated allegations.”

It further enumerates instances of Amnesty’s human rights work that have placed the organisation in the regime’s crosshairs, saying, “On October 22, 2019, Amnesty International testified at the US Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia, with specific focus on Jammu & Kashmir after the Indian Parliament on August 5 pushed through constitutional changes that divested Jammu & Kashmir of its special status and reorganized it into two Union Territories. On August 28, the rights groups released an investigative brief on the complicity of the Delhi Police in the month of February, 2020. The Amnesty International had claimed that 53 people had died in the riot while Delhi Police rebutted the claim saying that the report was lopsided, biased and malicious. The Amnesty International has reportedly accused the government of suppressing the speech and demanded the release of activists Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Sudha Bhardwaj, Surendra Gadling and others who were arrested in connection with the January, 2018 caste clashes in Bhima-Koregaon near Pune in Maharashtra.”

It then takes the bull by its horns by raising concerns about MHA’s statement in response to Amnesty’s allegations, saying, “The Union Home Ministry has reportedly mentioned in their statement that the stand taken by Amnesty International is unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth. The organization has been accused of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) violations, and “interference in domestic political debates” despite being funded by foreign donations. The rights group has reportedly denied the financial violations charges and has stated that they have been in full compliance with all laws.”

It then bats for Amnesty saying, “The Amnesty International is a reputed non-governmental organisation raising its voice globally whenever there is an incident of violation of human rights of the people. The allegations levelled by the organisation are serious in nature and have been strongly answered by the government agency. Any kind of difference of opinion may be a subject of investigation and decision by the competent court. The Commission finds it necessary to go through the matter, analyse the facts and reach a conclusion in the interest of human rights friendly environment in the country.”

NHRC has given the MHA six weeks to respond. The entire NHRC press release may be read here.

Meanwhile, human rights defender Dr. Kafeel Khan has also written to Amnesty International saying, “I believe Amnesty international is more than an organisation. It is a movement which will continue even if the structure doesn’t exist. It is made of the most passionate, hardworking and dedicated people, who will defend human rights wherever they go.” He goes on to thank Amnesty for their support when he was incarcerated by a vindictive regime, saying, “You raised my plight and injustice done to me when Uttar Pradesh government illegally slapped National Security Act on me and urged our Indian government to immediately release human rights defenders who have been arrested for peacefully protesting against changes in the nation’s citizenship laws and an upcoming national register for citizenship.”

Dr. Khan’s complete letter may be read here: 




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