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Ny lag kväver kristna organisationer i Indien

Uppmärksammat lagändring har drabbat organisationer hårt - men är det avsiktligt?

Christian ministries operating in India are facing a major setback as they lose the government’s authorization to collect foreign donations legally. The loss of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) license is proving to be financially devastating for many organizations. This March, Vision India, an organization providing leadership training for Christian youth, failed to renew its FCRA license.

The government conducted an enquiry a week prior to the renewal and refused it a week later. The FCRA, introduced by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1976, aimed to address foreign interference in domestic politics. Subsequent amendments in 2010 and 2011 made the policy more stringent, requiring organizations to renew their licenses every five years. The most recent iteration in 2020 added even more restrictions.

These licenses are theoretically renewed based on organizations’ annual reports detailing the foreign funds received and how they were used. However, Christian ministries have seen their licenses not being renewed, raising questions about the government’s motives. Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India voiced concerns about the impact on projects if funds were not received.

In 2017, Compassion International, bringing $45 million annually to India, lost its FCRA license. Despite efforts to address concerns raised by the government, the license was not reinstated. The stricter regulations under Modi’s administration have been seen as a move towards Hindu nationalism and authoritarianism. Compliance issues and misuse of funds have been cited, but many NGOs believe it’s a harsh approach targeting ideological differences.

In the past year, both the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) and the Church of North India lost their FCRA licenses. EFI’s renewal was refused because it was deemed prejudicial to public interest and social harmony. Concerns have been raised about organizations being punished for advocating religious freedom and challenging anti-conversion laws.

World Vision’s license was canceled earlier this year, leading to project closures and staff layoffs. The government’s actions are seen as specifically targeting Christian organizations. The National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre lost its license, and other Catholic dioceses under CBCI are facing license holds. The impact on organizations like CASA has been severe, with significant disruptions to their work.

The enforcement of FCRA regulations extends beyond Christian organizations to secular groups and human rights organizations. Prominent NGOs have lost their licenses, impacting their ability to provide vital services. The revocation of over 20,000 registrations raises concerns about the government’s selective enforcement and the impact on marginalized communities. The crackdown is seen as a threat to democratic values and constitutional rights.