Christian NGOs being targeted: Bishops’ team to Governor
The delegation submitted a memorandum, saying a blanket probe against Christian NGOs was unjust.
Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu. (File)
A delegation of bishops Friday met Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, seeking her attention against what they alleged was a witch-hunt against Christian NGOs in the name of checking their account details related to the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA). The delegation submitted a memorandum, saying a blanket probe against Christian NGOs was unjust.
At a press meet after the meeting with the Governor, Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said, “Our NGOs are being visited by people from CID and notices are being served to provide the FCRA account details within 24 hours. The notices are being issued in the name of ATS (anti-terrorist squad). This is an alarming situation for us. Why are we being selectively targeted?”
Mascarenhas was accompanied by Archbishop-elect of Ranchi diocese Felix Toppo and bishops of Daltonganj and Hazaribagh dioceses.
“Only Christian NGOs don’t get contribution from foreign agencies. If at all there has to be an inquiry, it has to be for everybody. Also, the Home Ministry has already checked FCRA accounts and they have renewed the licences. So, what has gone wrong now?,” said Mascarenhas. He said there was no reason to blame the central government, and that “things were happening at the state level”.
“That is why we approached the highest Constitutional authority in the state,” said Mascarenhas.
After the arrest of a Catholic priest in the Khunti gang-rape case and arrest of a sister on charges of selling babies from a centre run by Missionaries of Charity, the CBCI has said that, in the name of inquiry, an entire community was being given a bad name.
Jharkhand police spokesperson R K Mallick said: “The inquiry is being done as per the orders of the Union Home Ministry, which has given us a list of 88 organisations, whose foreign contributions and activities are to be inquired into by the CID. To claim that only a particular group of NGOs are being targeted is absurd.” On claims that notices are being issued by the ATS, he said: “The SP (ATS) is also the SP (CID). Notices may have been issued by him on the ATS letterhead, but it is the CID that is inquiring.”
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