London-based global rights watchdog, the Amnesty International has vowed that it would not be silenced on raising concerns about the situation in occupied Kashmir despite facing intimidation by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s government.
Amnesty International Secretary-General, Kumi Naidoo, in a media interview in Washington said that the Modi government has made a very big attempt to crush Amnesty in India, stressing, ‘On the Kashmir question, on various human rights questions in India itself, we are not intimidated,’ Kashmir Media Service reported.
‘While our colleagues in our Indian office are under stress, they are as committed, motivated and courageous as ever, if not more, as a result of the repression that we face’, he maintained. Pertinently, India´s financial crime investigators recently accused Amnesty´s local branch of violating foreign exchange regulations through taking money from its London-based parent.
Modi´s government has cracked down on foreign non-governmental organizations since coming to power in 2014, suspending or banning thousands of groups, many working in health or the environment, for receiving money from abroad. Naidoo, however, said that Amnesty — whose Bangalore office was raided last year — would survive in India as it has funding from local donors.
Amnesty has faced heated criticism from India´s right wing for its stance on Kashmir, where authorities have shut down the internet, mobile and phone services, besides imposing severe military lockdown since August 5 following the revocation of the territory’s special status. Amnesty’s chief Naidoo said, ‘It is a horrific thing to actually cut people´s legitimate way of communicating with each other completely’. He added, ‘There are life-and-death issues associated with doing that. Whether it is family members needing to communicate with each other, being able to go to the doctor´s, this is something that governments need to stop doing, and we need to speak out against this very strongly’.—APP