Did the MHA Really Renew the License of Greenpeace and Teesta Setalvad’s Sarbang NGO???

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had refused to extend the date of FCRA licenses provided to more than 11,000 NGOs. FCRA means Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. Basically a lot of NGOs in our country are run with foreign funding. While it may seem okay to let foreigners help us in alleviating problems that poor people are facing, it is not usually what it seems. Foreign funding means that those who are giving us money set their own terms and conditions. Some of the obnoxious conditions are – helping in terrorism, creating intellectual terrorism in educational institutions, conversion into Christianity, putting false cases to prevent us from using our own natural resources, using Indians as guinea-pigs in medical trials, etc.  As and when the Government comes to know of these agendas, they try to either shut down the NGOs or at least prevent them from getting funds from abroad. Ever since the Modi Government has come to power, they have being battling these NGOs in a big way. It is no secret that these horrible NGOs flourished during the previous government’s rule.

Some of the NGOs who have been on the wrong side are World Vision, Greenpeace, Zakir Naik’s IRF, Teesta Setalvad and her husband’s NGO – Sabrang Trust and Teesta Setalvad’s Citizens for Justice and Peace, and many more. Now from the time these licenses have been refused extension, there have been at least 4 occasions where unexpectedly the MHA has granted the licenses. And equally suddenly, within a couple of days the MHA has withdrawn these licenses. It is obvious that either there is something wrong with the system or that someone is hacking the system or working towards creating confusion.

While a probe was going on against Zakir Naik and his NGO – Islamic Research Foundation, his NGO was renewed through an automatic online system. This was surprising since the MHA had already placed under ‘prior permission’ category. This means that before any foreign contribution was accepted or utilized, the home ministry’s permission was required. So this renewal flagged a warning signal and immediately three MHA officials — Under Secretaries Ipsita Saha Paul and Deepak Kumar and Section Officer Usha Bhangu were suspended for negligence, while a data entry operator, Shyam Babu Kumar Manjhi, was removed. Joint Secretary (Foreigners) G K Dwivedi was also suspended and replaced by Mukesh Mittal. The surprising thing was Dwivedi himself had noticed certain lapses in the manner in which IRF’s file was dealt with between 2013 and 2015. He had then initiated disciplinary action against the above four officials. He got reports from the IB, state government and the Internal Security-1 division in the MHA and initiated action against IRF. The FCRA registration and renewal process is done online and Dwivedi had written to the National Informatics Centre to introduce a system whereby red flags would be automatically raised in the case of applications from NGOs which were facing probe.

Recently, controversial NGOs including Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust, CJP and Greenpeace India, all canceled by the ministry in the past one year, got renewal. Yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it suspects that its computers may have been hacked. The ministry has sought help from Computer Emergency Response System-India (CERT-IN) to probe if the online system, which was introduced in 2015 has been hacked into. As per a top official in MHA, “It cannot simply be a systematic error that all controversial NGO’s are being granted renewal,” implying that the ministry suspects foul play. The official said that they are not ruling out an insider job in this case because earlier even junior officers could clear the flagged NGOs. There is now a proposal to overhaul the system so that only the joint secretary can clear the red flagged NGOs as per a senior Home Ministry official. In the meantime, those who licenses have been renewed ‘automatically’ have been suspended again.

Jai Hind !!!

Rati Hegde