In a new, the international human rights watchdog Amnesty International has reportedly suspended its operations in India. The organization has alleged that the Indian government has frozen its bank accounts and forced to lay off all staff workers as a part of a “witch hunt”.
“We are facing a rather unprecedented situation in India. Amnesty International India has been facing an onslaught of attacks, bullying, and harassment by the government in a very systematic manner,” Rajat Khosla, the group’s senior director of research, advocacy and policy said in a statement.
Khosla also claimed that the move came because the government didn’t want to answer difficult questions regarding Delhi riots and Kashmir.
“This is all down to the human rights work that we were doing and the government not wanting to answer questions we raised, whether it’s in terms of our investigations into the Delhi riots, or the silencing of voices in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Although the government is yet to comment on the issue, the Delhi police told The Hindu that Amnesty’s report was “lopsided, biased and malicious”.
Its operations were previously suspended in 2009 due to the repeated rejection of their license to receive funds from overseas. The ruling government had also earlier alleged suspicions against Amnesty for violating Indian laws on foreign funding. However, Kholsa has denied all such allegations and referred to them as “blatant lies”.
The director of research has also said that the group will pursue a legal battle while he has urged people around the world to take notice of the move. The only other country that has shut Amnesty’s operations is Russia.