A DAY after it cancelled the FCRA licence of Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday issued similar orders for seven other NGOs whose licences had been renewed “inadvertently” despite adverse reports.
Among these NGOs are Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), a trust run by activist Shabnam Hashmi, Marwar Muslim Education and Welfare Society, Gujarat-based Navsarjan Trust and Rural Development Research Centre, Ahmedabad.
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Ministry officials said the decision was taken after an inquiry into the functioning of the NGOs whose FCRA licences were renewed in the recent past.
There were adverse intelligence inputs against the seven NGOs for allegedly working against public interest by using foreign funds, and painting the government as “anti-Dalit” abroad. The FCRA licences of these seven NGOs were claimed to have been renewed “inadvertently” despite the unfavourable intelligence reports. When this was detected during an emergency audit, their registrations were cancelled with immediate effect, officials said.
Reacting to the cancellation of licence, ANHAD’s Hashmi said, “In March 2016, the FCRA was renewed. Today it has been cancelled.”
She said, “The scenario is like the demonetisation notices. The government can’t make up its mind on what it wants to do. This government has repeatedly shown that it is inefficient, indecisive yet extremely vindictive and fascist. If it had to cancel the FCRA licence, it should have done so after the November 2015 inquiry. Why did they renew it then and why have they cancelled it now?”
On Wednesday, the MHA cancelled renewal of FCRA licence of Greenpeace India and two NGOs run by Setalvad — Sabrang Trust and CJP. The ministry also ordered a review of the recent renewal of FCRA registration of 13,000 NGOs to look into possible violation of rules.
While the licences of Greenpeace India and Sabrang Trust were cancelled by the government in the past, CJP was put in the prior permission category, thus preventing it from accepting foreign funds without government’s permission.
Two months ago, there was a lapse in “automatic renewal” of the licence of Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) leading to suspension of four officials, including a joint secretary. The government later cancelled the FCRA licence of IRF permanently after declaring it a terror outfit.