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Bharatiya Kisan Union’s ‘foreign donations’ may be sent back as the organisation is not registered under FCRA: Reports

Under FCRA laws, an organisation has to be registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs for it to be eligible to receive foreign donations. The BKU has been directing people to donate to Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan's personal account, which is not registered under FCRA yet.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), the farmer organisation which is at the forefront of the ongoing farmer protests, has come under scanner over receiving money in donation from foreign nationals. As per reports, the BKU has said that it has been asked by a central agency to share details of its foreign funding and FCRA registration details.

As per reports, an email was sent on Saturday to the manager of Punjab and Sind Bank branch at Kokrikalan village of Moga district seeking details of the money deposited in the organisations’ bank account from various sources in the past two months.

“In the email, it was stated that we should give registration details in respect of these donations from abroad otherwise they will be sent back. The bank manager showed me the email which has been sent by the Forex Department,” General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said. The BKU has said that it has received over Rs 8 lakhs in donations in the last 2 months.

Hitting out at the Modi government, the BKU President Joginder Singh Ugrahan alleged that the organisation was being targeted by the Central government for the sole purpose of defeating the ongoing agitation against farm laws. “BKU is being targeted by the central authorities for evoking a massive response from Indians and NRIs. What wrong is there if our supporters working as truck drivers or pursing other labour works send donations from overseas,” said Joginder Singh.

“It is quite clear that the agitation against the farm laws is against the Centre and they will try to create all hurdles they can in that,” the BKU president said, furthering that his outfit will be consulting a chartered accountant or an advocate to submit their reply.

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) stipulates mandatory registration of any outfit receiving foreign funds. The BKU had issued a public appeal demanding financial resources ‘to pursue agitation’ on December 6. As of now, all the contributions are made to the personal account of the BKU General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan. As per existing FCRA laws, if Kokrikalan’s account is not registered under the FCRA, all foreign money will be reverted to respective donor accounts. The last date for registration under FCRA for the account has already expired on Saturday.

As per law, an organisation has to register with the MHA if it wants to receive foreign donations. The forex department of Punjab and Sind Bank has objected to release the forex, as reported by Hindustan Times.

Bharatiya Kisan Union and its hypocrisy on the new farm laws

The Congress supporting BKU has been opposing the new farm laws introduced by the central government by alleging that the new laws were not meant for the benefit of farmers. However, during the course of the protest, reports have emerged which point at this organisation’s blatant hypocrisy. Interestingly, Bharatiya Kisan Union which has repeatedly asked for the removal of middlemen in Punjab to ensure direct payments to farmers had in its 2019 manifesto, asked for the abolition of APMCs and Essential Commodities Act. In fact, according to the official Twitter account of Bharatiya Kisan Union, the outfit has been demanding in writing that the Indian farmer be liberated from the tyranny of APMCs. 

In 2008 also the Punjab and Haryana farmers led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) were apparently upset that they were being forced to sell their wheat produce at the Minimum Selling Price (MSP).

Twelve years later, the same farmers from the same states led by the same farmer organisation are opposing the very law which allows them to do exactly what they demanded.

The Congress supported organisation had also joined in the anti-CAA protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh earlier this year.

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