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‘The Other Media’ NGO that organised protests against Vedanta Sterlite plant under scanner: Home Ministry tells Rajya Sabha

Responding to the Congress MP’s query, Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai in a written reply to Rathwa informed that the ministry has received “representations/complaints alleging violation of the FCRA, 2010 by the association of ‘The Other Media, New Delhi’.”

On Wednesday, April 5, the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Rajya Sabha that it was examining complaints against an NGO named The Other Media for misusing foreign funds to organize protests around the Vedanta Sterlite copper plant in Thoohtukudi district of Tamil Nadu. 

Congress MP Naranbhai J Rathwa had inquired “whether the Home Ministry has received any complaints against The Other Media for misusing foreign funds for organizing protests and demonstrations around Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.” In addition to this, the details and status of the case against the NGO were also sought. The Congress MP also inquired about the details of the funds received and utilized by The Other Media and violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). 

Moreover, it was also inquired if the government is considering imposing a ban on this NGO and if not, then what reasons it would give.

Responding to the Congress MP’s query, Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai in a written reply to Rathwa informed that the ministry has received “representations/complaints alleging violation of the FCRA, 2010 by the association of ‘The Other Media, New Delhi’.”

Minister Rai also stated that the ministry has also received inputs of the field agency and that a standard questionnaire was issued to the NGO in question and a reply has also been received. 

“Accordingly, Standard questionnaire was issued to the association and a reply has been received,” the reply stated. 

The Minister further stated that in case the provisions of the FCRA, 2010, are found to have been violated by The Other Media, its certificate may be cancelled.

In case violations of provisions of the FCRA, 2010 are found, the certificate of FCRA registration of the association may be cancelled under Section 14 of the Act,” the reply stated.

The association utilized 2.79 crores of the 3.54 crore in foreign contributions it received over the last three fiscal years—2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22.

Notably, The Other Media (TOM) is an FCRA-NGO with the registration number DL 231660085, and its chairperson or chief functionary is Nityanand Jayaraman, a self-identified environmental activist.

Reportedly, TOM has received funding from dubious organizations like the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID) of the Netherlands, the World Association for Christian Communication in Canada, the Christian Conference of Asia, and Trócaire, the official international aid organization of the Irish Catholic Church.

Bread for the World (BfW), a “globally active development and relief agency of the Protestant Churches in Germany,” has also donated money to TOM.

All of TOM’s donations have been listed under “Activities other than those mentioned,” despite the fact that their account statements (Form FC-6) state that their association is “educational and social in nature.”

Notably, in 2021, Vedanta Group got permission to reopen the plant to provide medical oxygen during the Covid pandemic. TN government had appealed to the apex court that the plant should provide oxygen only to the state but the court rejected it. It operated for three months and then the premises were again shut once the second wave was subsidized. In December 2021, there were reports that the locals had claimed they were cheated in the name of the protests and wanted it to reopen.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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