Amnesty to halt work in India due to government ‘witch-hunt’

a car parked in front of a building: Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

Amnesty International has been forced to shut down operations in India and lay off all staff there after the Indian government froze its bank accounts.

The Indian enforcement directorate, an agency that investigates economic crimes, froze the accounts of Amnesty’s Indian arm this month after the group published two reports highly critical of the government’s human rights record.

Amnesty said the move was the culmination of a two-year campaign of harassment by the home affairs ministry, and more broadly part of an “incessant witch-hunt” of human rights groups by the Hindu nationalist government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Amnesty’s departure starkly illustrates the shrinking space for dissent in India, where critics of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party face investigation and detention, often under draconian terrorism laws. It also comes at a time when human rights violations, particularly against India’s 200 million Muslims,

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