New Delhi: The Indian government has frozen funding of nearly half a million dollars to the rights group Amnesty International’s local offshoot over concerns about the source of some of the cash, a newspaper reported on Saturday.
The Home Ministry decided to prevent Amnesty India from taking receipt of the money from its parent organisation in Britain after around a third of the overall amount was traced to an offshore trust.
The trust, based on the island of Gibraltar, was set up by a gambling tycoon who has been convicted of fraud in the United States, said the report.
Amnesty has been a vocal critic of the New Delhi government, most recently accusing the security agencies of committing human rights violations during anti-insurgency operations in central India.
Home Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment but the head of Amnesty India confirmed that funding had been blocked, saying the money had been earmarked for education projects.
“The law requires us to seek permission for funding,” Amnesty India chief executive Anantha Padmanabhan said in a brief comment to a news agency.
“Our purpose was clear and specific. We are working with 30 schools and we want to increase our reach to 300 schools,” Padmanabhan added.
In 2012, the Indian government had put a number of non-profit organisations, including some from Europe, on a watch list over suspicions that they were diverting funds to fuel protests.—Agencies