Noose tightens around unscrupulous Evangelical NGOs; No funds under FCRA for NGOs indulging in conversions
The Home Ministry has said that each functionary and member every NGO which receive funds under FCRA will have to declare that they are not involved in religious conversions.
In a move that could have far reaching effect in India which is grappling with religious conversions, the Union Home Ministry on Monday had said that each functionary and member of NGOs seeking funds under FCRA will have to file an affidavit declaring that they are not involved in any act of religious conversion. The directive also mandates that the members and functionaries should not have been prosecuted for communal disharmony in the country.
The ET has reported that tightening the Foreigners Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) norms, the Union home ministry has said that each functionary and member of a non governmental organization (NGO) seeking registration under FCRA will have to file an affidavit declaring that the individual has not been involved in any act of religious conversion or prosecuted for communal disharmony.
The Second Amendment made to the FCRA Act, 2019 states that a affidavit will have to be executed by each office bearer and functionary and member individually on non-judicial stamp paper of Rs 10 and attested by notary public. Under the earlier version of the act amended in 2011 had mandated that only key functionary and top office bearers were required to provide an affidavit for seeking prior permission from MHA to receive grants under FCRA.
The Home Ministry has amended the FCRA rules in 2012, 2015 and 2019 for NGOs seeking FCRA licences. The latest is the second amendment made to the 2019 act passed by both houses of the parliament.
A long standing demand
This was a long standing demand of many concerned over rampant religious conversions all across India taking place with the funds from these NGOs, who hid their true character. While they showed the facade of education, service, medical help, etc, they would be aiding conversions surreptitiously.
Recently, the international NGO Compassion International had to shut down India operations after Modi government refused permission to accept foreign funding. Earlier, Compassion International was put on the “watch list” by the Home Ministry. This was amid reports by security agencies that it was funding unregistered Indian NGOs which were involved in religious conversions. The US government under Obama and later under Trump has tried to influence the Indian Government to lift the ban on Compassion International from receiving funds under FCRA. However, a strong willed Indian govt did not budge and the CI continues to be under suspension.