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Amnesty International halts operations in India

DW, 01 Oct 2020
Amnesty International suspended human rights work in India after an Indian government investigative arm froze the organization's bank accounts, according to a statement released Tuesday.

"This is an egregious and shameful act by the Indian government, which forces us to cease the crucial human rights work of Amnesty International India for now," Julie Verhaar, the acting secretary-general of Amnesty, said in a statement, adding that the organization was working "resolutely" to determine how it can continue human rights work in India.

The government of India froze Amnesty International India's bank accounts on September 10, which Amnesty said forced it to let go of staff and "pause its ongoing campaign and research work." Amnesty said the Indian government was unduly portraying the group's fundraising as "money laundering" under a law regulating foreign donations.

According to Amnesty, around 100,000 Indians have supported the group financially over the past 8 years. Amnesty also slammed Indian authorities for carrying out what he called "legal harassment."

Amnesty has accused the Indian government of carrying out a "witch hunt of human rights organizations" in response to rights watchdogs challenging the "government's grave excesses."

India's ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been accused of pushing a Hindu-first agenda that marginalizes the country's Muslim minority and violates human rights principles.

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