ED freezes Amnesty India’s a/cs

A day after Amnesty India’s Bengaluru office was raided by the Enforcement Directorate, the NGO said the ED has also frozen its bank accounts, effectively forcing it to stop work. Alleging that the Centre is treating human rights organisations like “criminal enterprises”, Amnesty India claimed that “it is, thus, the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country”. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

“Government authorities are increasingly treating human rights bodies like criminal enterprises. As an organisation committed to the rule of law, our operations here have always conformed with national regulations. The principles of transparency and accountability are at the heart of our work,” Amnesty India head Aakar Patel said.

Stating that the focus of ED’s questioning was the relationship between the two entities Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and Amnesty International India Foundation, A statement read: “Most of the documents asked for during the search were available in public domain, or were already filed with the relevant authorities. Details of our current structure, which was the focus of much of the questioning, have been available on our website since 2014.”

“But, ahead of the raids, Indian authorities leaked a cache of their internal documents marked ‘secret’ that appear to cast Amnesty India’s operations as a dark web of intrigue,” Patel said.

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