FCRA noose tightens on Gujarat Dalit NGO for supporting Una stir
A pathbreaking Dalit NGO has laid off 80 employees after the Government of India cancelled its licence blocking it from getting foreign funding. The reason for the governmental diktat: the NGO’s prominent role in the protests following the beating up of four Dalit tanners by anti-cow slaughter vigilantes in Una.
Navsarjan Trust, the almost 30-year-old NGO, has its presence in over 3,000 villages in Gujarat where it takes up cases of abuse and caste discrimination against the state’s Dalits. It runs three Navsarjan Vidyalayas in Gujarat: in rural Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan districts. The residential schools have more than a 100 children, both boys and girls, from the most downtrodden and marginalised caste groups in the state.
A Scroll.in story said the Centre declared the Trust’s activities undesirable last month and cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence. Without this permission, the Trust cannot raise funds from abroad. Navsarjan Trust has 92 employees.
Founded in 1989, Navsarjan managing trustee Martin Macwan told Scroll.in that, he believed it to be vendetta for Navsarjan’s supporting the protest march led by activist Jignesh Mewani among others.
Macwan said he paid the retrenched 80 employees salaries till March 2017 so that they can look for other jobs.
Navsarjan isn’t the only NGO to be bearing the damage of the FCRA permission being revoked. The Home Ministry has already cancelled the permissions for Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang and senior lawyer Indira Jaising’s Lawyer’s Collective. Setalvad has been at the forefront in supporting the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots to get justice.