The human rights group Navsarjan has fought thousands of cases on behalf of India’s “lower caste” Dalit community since 1988. Now, the Indian government has targeted the nonprofit: India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has blocked Navsarjan from receiving the funding that accounts for nearly its entire annual budget.
The L.A. Times confirms widening government crackdowns on Indian civil society organizations. Many are accused of being politically motivated. India often projects a deep distrust of non-corporate sponsored civil society groups—especially those supported by Western countries. Despite its proclamation as being one of the world’s largest non-secular democracies, there is limited philanthropy allowed outside the corporate sector. The situation is similar in China. Meantime, former solicitor of legal aid group Lawyers Collective, Inidira Jaising, told the L.A. Times that India has a law (the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, or FCRA) that’s like “a sword dangling over the head of every NGO who receives foreign funding.” Greenpeace once called it “an instrument of repression” used by the government to cut off funding to groups holding positions that are contrary to the government’s stances.