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Home ministry hits holy cows; protection groups among 5,992 NGOs under lens

Of the 5,922 that have been issued show-cause notices, 9 are gaushalas, over 100 have Muslim names

N Sundaresha Subramanian  |  New Delhi 

Cows
Protection of cows and creating gaushalas were part of the BJP’s manifesto in the Uttar Pradesh polls.

The latest crackdown on non-compliant non-government organisations (NGOs) might have hit some holy cows. The list of 5,922 units which have not filed their annual returns and have been served show-cause notices includes several institutions working for cow protection.

Business Standard went through the list to find at least nine such NGOs that had “gau” or “cow” in their names. These are Shri Haryana Gaushala, Gau Sewa Trust, Shri Gaushala Kathar Jungle, Ratanlal C Bafna Gau Sewa Anusandhan Kendra, Shri Pinjara Pole Gaushala Sewa Trust, Shri Dayalu Gau Jeav Jan Parmarthseva Sansthan Kherapa, Shri Harihar Maharaj Kamdhenu Gaushevashram Dharmik Trust, Sri Panch Dev Mahamandir Gau Sewa Ashram Samiti, and Care For Cows Public Charitable Trust.

The list could have other such organisations, without a giveaway in the names, which are serving the cause of the bovine considered holy by a section of Hindus and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Protection of cows and creating gaushalas were part of the party’s manifesto in the Uttar Pradesh polls. The spurt in ‘cow love’ has fuelled the rise of vigilante groups, which have been accused of involvement in several lynchings across the country. 

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Besides, there were about a dozen organisations whose names suggest they worked in the area of animal welfare. Among the minority institutions, over 100 organisations with Islamic/Arabic names have been issued show-cause notices. These included at least five institutions named after Dr Zakir Hussain. Several Madrasas and Islamic educational trusts also received the notices. 

The number of NGOs with Islamic names accounted for about 1.7 per cent of the 5,922 that received the show-cause notices. This is slightly lower than the 1.96 per cent recorded in a similar analysis done by Business Standard last year of nearly 14,000 NGOs that had been banned since 2012. The ministry has warned these entities that their FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) licences would be cancelled, if they did not furnish financial records pertaining to a five-year period beginning 2011. The cancellation would mean these cannot receive foreign funds. The NGOs have been given time till July 23 to reply to the notices issued on July 8. 

“As a one-time measure, all associations were given an opportunity by way of a public notice requiring the associations to file their missing annual returns pertaining to FY (financial year) 2010-11 to 2014-15 within a period of one month, starting from May 15, 2017 to June 14, 2017, without payment of penalty for filing of annual returns. However, in spite of sufficient and adequate notice, it has been observed that 5,922 associations have not uploaded their annual returns for three or more than three years within the stipulated time given in the notice,” the show cause notice said.

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