US conveyed to India concern over crackdown on NGOs

The United States is understood to have conveyed its concern over India's crackdown on various NGOs and donors, including US-based Ford Foundation.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 06, 2015, 23:00 PM IST

New Delhi: The United States is understood to have conveyed its concern over India's crackdown on various NGOs and donors, including US-based Ford Foundation.

US diplomats based in New Delhi met government officials and were believed to have sought clarification on the Home Ministry's action against Ford Foundation and Greenpeace India, following alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Official sources said India's Ambassador to the US Arun Kumar Singh also met Union Home Secretary L C Goyal on July 4 and was said to have conveyed American government's concern.

Ford Foundation and Greenpeace India's parent body Greenpeace International are based in the US.

Sources said Ford Foundation has funded a political party and profit-making organisations "illegally", which has resulted in the foreign outfit coming under the Home Ministry scanner and put on the "watch list".

Greenpeace India was allegedly involved in ant-government activities leading to the suspension of its FCRA licence and blocking of bank accounts.

The Home Ministry officials made it clear that all NGOs and donors have to work within the framework of Indian laws and no 'genuine' NGOs will be harassed.

In a recent interview, US Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma had said that American officials were having dialogue with Indian officials on the issue of NGOs.

"We also want this rich tradition of civil society to continue and attract the best talent and best contributions. That is the dialogue we are having. It has been a good dialogue and an important dialogue.

"We had a very good dialogue with the government. It is an important issue. Both of our countries have such a rich tradition of a robust civil society. We collectively need our civil society for all the work they do in literacy, health and education. It is vitally important for India and the US. It is also important that NGOs be legally compliant," Verma has said.

In recent past, the Home Ministry took a series of action against various NGOs including Greenpeace India, two NGOs run by social activist Teesta Setalvad, cancelled the registration of more than 10,000 NGOs and put Ford Foundation under "watch list" for allegedly violating provisions of FCRA.