Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Teesta then, Indira Jaising now, method of stifling dissent?

NK Bhoopesh | June 2, 2016 6:14 pm Print
Indira Jaising's lawyer's collective has been banned by the home ministry from receiving foreign funds
Indira Jaising

Earlier it was activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust….

A number of NGO’s including the Greenpeace were targeted after the Narendra Modi government  assumed power in 2014.

Almost all organisations were targeted for alleged flouting of  Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA)

In the line of government’s fire is senior lawyer Indira Jaising’s NGO “Lawyer’s Collective”.

The Home Ministry  suspended the FCRA registration of the NGO for six months, claiming violations of  the relevant sections of the FCRA . This bars the organisation from receiving foreign funds.

Jaising says the move is aimed at “intimidating her” and she sees this as a pattern of government policy to target those who are questioning government. Jaising was appointed as Additional Solicitor General by the UPA during 2009-12.

Read More : Digvijaya hits out at govt for ‘targeting’ Indira Jaising’s NGO

Lawyers Collective said in a statement that it will challenge the order and termed the government action as part of its effort to suppress dissent.

Jaising represented CBI in the fake encounter cases involving former Gujarat Home Minister and current BJP president Amit Shah.

Speaking at the launch of Rana Ayyub’s book “Gujarat Files : Anatomy of a Cover Up” in Delhi last Friday, Jaisingh spoke at length how the government machinery was used to protect BJP leaders  involved  in various cases in Gujarat.

The FCRA registrations of some 13,000 NGOs were cancelled or suspended by the Modi government. Ford Foundation, which has handed out donations to the tune of $500 million after it started operating in India since 1952 was put on a security watch list after a $250,000  grant to Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust came under scanner.

Mumbai based Setalvad was leading the leading fight for justice for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims.

India is reported to have more than 20 lakh NGOs. Of these some 43, 000 organisations have FCRA registrations.

The Home Ministry however maintains only 10 percent file their returns. The government defended their action by saying most foreign funded NGOs were damaging the country’s economy with their campaign against mining, power and other industrial projects.

The blanket action has affected outreach programmes of many NGOs working in health, women and child welfare, environment conservation etc.

But civil society and opposition parties allege that only those who are very vocal against the government are targeted.

The action government took against Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust, Ford Foundation, Green Peace and now Indira Jaising’s Lawyer’s Collective lends credence to this criticism