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Civil Society Protests Against Targeting NGOs

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A number of civil society organisations have come together to lodge a strong protest with the Indian government over the recent crackdown on various NGOs.
 
The civil socieities have drafted an open Letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising some basic questions to the government. Enakshi Ganguly, Co-Director, Haq said, “we are extremely uncomfortable about the kind of messaging the government is putting about CSOs and urge PM and his office to create necessary space and mechanism for strengthening the relationship between government and CSOs.”
 
Speaking at the event, Anjali Bhardwaj from Satark Nagarik Sangathan (SNS) said, “We are not against the government but we are questioning the arbitrary manner in which the government is targeting selective NGOs and persons and justifying it on the unfounded grounds.” She also highlighted the fact that government itself is not keeping their promises as the key posts of Central Information Commission, Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal are left vacant and it undermines the transparency established by RTI (Right To Information).
 
Taking the issue forward, Paul Diwakar of National Campaign On Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) said: “If we are committed to strengthening democracy then we will realise that its communities who are taking on the mantle of the fight to defend democracy and they are doing so to ensure peace, security and a level playing field for the marginal population and NGOs are at best representing the struggles and aspirations of the people and it is the partnership that is irking the vested interest.” He also said that NGOs do whatever it takes to ensure that people get what is constitutionally and legally due to them.
 
Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) said, “scrutiny through the committees on subordinate legislations of Parliament would amount to government exercising power in the arbitrary way.”
 
Speaking through video conferencing, Biraj Patnaik of The Centre For Equity Studies,  said, “if the collaboration between government and NGOs have to improve, then they should recognise the fact that MHA was an inappropriate body to oversee NGOs.” He emphasised the need to ensure transparency.
 
There are 171 organisations and individuals supporting this open letter to PM.