Amnesty International protest outside Indian mission in UK, over activists crackdown
A group of from Amnesty International gathered outside the Indian High Commission here on Friday to protest against what they termed as a "crackdown" on the human rights group in India.
The protesters carried placards reading "India: Stop the Crackdown" and "Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Don't Crush India's Charities" during the peaceful demonstration outside India House to mark the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"As more people in India call for equality, accountability and justice, Prime Minister Modi's government is trying to silence human rights defenders and organisations," said Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK's Director.
"Amnesty India speaks out for women's rights, has exposed the use of excessive force against defenceless people, and stood up for indigenous communities whose rights are being violated by large corporations. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in India," she said.
The protest follows the Enforcement Directorate raid on Amnesty India offices in Bangalore last month, which led to the freezing its bank accounts.
While the rights group has denied any wrongdoing and claims the raid followed a similar attempt to "intimidate" Greenpeace India, the Indian authorities have said the raids were aimed at uncovering foreign funding violations by Amnesty in India.
"The G20 summit has to be more than a photo opportunity for member countries and they must pull their weight to address the increasing crackdown on civil society organisations and human rights defenders by the government of India," said Aakar Patel, Executive Director of Amnesty International India.
(With inputs from agencies.)