NEW DELHI: After Amnesty International halted its operations in India citing government ‘witch-hunt’, activists said the BJP government was systematically targetting voices of dissent.
“This government is doing everything it can to silence the voices of civil society organisations. There are many things done in that direction… the targeting of anti-CAA protesters, including myself in various police chargesheets, the changes in the FCRA laws, and the clamp down on Amnesty are all part of a larger project to attempt to silence independent voices of dissent which are critical of the majoritarian politics of the present regime,” said bureaucrat turned activist Harsh Mander.
The amendments in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act would be a blow to the civil society organisatons, said activists. Amnesty International said they came to know of the freezing of accounts on September 10.
“This is a clear indication that Modi government wants a war without witnesses. That is why it is seeking to evict human rights defenders and rights organisations. There is a clear link between the fact that Amnesty brought out a damning report documenting the rights violations and torture targetting Muslims, said Kavita Krishnan, secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, and CPI(M) politburo member.
“If they can do this to an international organisation of Amnesty’s stature, think of what is happening to human rights defenders at the ground. This should be a wake up call for the rest of the world to worry about the health of India’s democracy,” said Krishnan.
There is a pattern of government action resulting in curtailment of the activities of human rights organisations that amplify voices of dissent and demand accountability for the actions of the law enforcement agencies, said rights activist Venkatesh Nayak.
“The voices of dissent are unfortunately being stifled using a variety of methods, including the social media platform,” he added.