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Centre using FCRA provisions for "state terrorism", say NGOs

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

INSAF (Indian Social Action Forum), a network of more then 700 Indian NGOs has strongly condemned the recent actions taken by the central government of suspension of its registration under new rules of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and termed it as an act of "state terrorism".

"This is a kind of state whereby the government is attempting to frighten the civil society," the NGO, Behavioural Science Centre's Research Director Jimmy Dabhi told reporters here today.

He was addressing a press conference along with Hiren Gandhi from INSAF and Prakash Shah of the Democracy Movement, which was called here to protest against suspension of INSAF's registration and freezing its bank account for 180 days by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the FCRA.

"The government has taken this action under amended rules of the FCRA which prohibits receipt of foreign funding to organisations which habitually engage in or employ common methods of political action like strikes rasta roko, rail roko or jail bharo in support of public causes, as these activities will be deemed political in nature," Gandhi said.

"INSAF is not a mass organisation, but a network of more then 700 NGOs involved in grassroots activities and people's struggles. We do not initiate any movements but our role is merely that of a facilitator," he said.

He also alleged that, "FCRA's provisions do not clearly define what constitute political activities and this gives discretionary powers to the ministry to take vindictive actions against those who are against the establishment."

"On one hand, the government invites FDI in sectors that displace people and rob them of their livelihood and on the other hand, it bans those who support people's livelihoods and rights," he said.

INSAF, which include 25 NGOs from Gujarat, has challenged both provisions of the FCRA and suspension of its registration in the Supreme Court and it has also planned a nationwide protest programme.

First Published: Thu, May 16 2013. 20:30 IST