Tightening the noose around evangelical organizations and Islamic charities operating in the garb of NGOs, the home ministry in the past one and a half months has suspended the foreign funding license of six such organizations.
The alleged NGOs were under the scanner for misappropriation of funds and have been suspended citing violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Reportedly, the NGOs were misusing the funds for religious conversions in India.
NGOs that got suspended this year
On August 27, the FCRA license of Markazul Ighasathil Kairiyathil Hindiyya, a Kerala-based NGO linked to prominent Sunni leader Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed was cancelled over “misutilization” of funds, misrepresentation of facts and non-filing of annual FCRA returns in 2019-20.
The NGO had received over Rs 146 crores in donations from abroad in the last three years from 35 listed foreign contributors. While 28 were from the UAE, others were from Oman, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Additionally, in July the home ministry revoked the FCRA license of a Lucknow-based Al Hasan Educational and Welfare Organisation over their alleged involvement in forced religious conversions.
Similarly, Haryana-based Mewat Trust for Educational Welfare headed by one Shafi Mohammad also had its FCRA license suspended for 180 days. Reports suggest that the reason for the same is not known.
On August 28, Odisha-based People’s Organisation of Empowerment of Tribals and Heavenly Grace Ministries along with Madurai-based Russ Foundation received suspension orders under FCRA.
Reportedly, Russ Foundation director M. Berlin Jose (54) and Chairperson John Prabakar (63) were arrested in 2019 after one of the directors sexually assaulted a 10-year-old inmate. The campus was sealed immediately after the incident and the Foundation had also not renewed its license to run its school.
Another organization to face the axe was Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an NGO that is said to have received funds from George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. The organization is led by a well-known commentator on the northeast Sanjoy Hazarika.
The organization’s FCRA license was cancelled in June this year. However, the Delhi High Court had permitted the organization to utilize a part of its funds to pay the salaries of its employees in July.
Two more organizations that faced suspensions include ‘internationally recognized’ Bengaluru-based Centre for Wildlife Studies and missionary organization Holy Spirit Ministries, which operates out of Andhra Pradesh.
An NGO, Trust or organization can no longer receive foreign aid once their FCRA license has been revoked. The suspension further freezes the bank accounts of such organizations prohibiting them from utilizing the existing funds.
As per a Times of India report, there are as many as 22,708 active NGOs and other associations registered under FCRA to date.