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Teesta Setalvad siphoned off Rs 3.85 crore for personal use: Gujarat police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat police told the Supreme Court that it has proof that social activist Teesta Setalvad and her Javed Anand had diverted funds received for their NGO, which works for the welfare of 2002 riot victims, for personal use, reports The Times of India. Out of Rs 9.75 crore received in donations, they siphoned off Rs 3.85 crore, the police said.As per the 83-page affidavit filed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Rahul B Patel, Setalvad and Anand and their trusts have not cooperated with the police to provide the documents needed to probe into the complaints by the 2002 riots victims at Gulbarg Society which said they did not deliver what they had promised once the donations increased.The affidavit informs that the couple siphoned money from HRD Ministry grant of Rs 1.40 crore between February 2011 and July 2012.It also says that the activists did not inform the police that they had opened two more accounts belonging to Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Sabrang Trust. “As soon as these three accounts were seized on January 23, 2014, the couple immediately transferred Rs 24.5 lakh and Rs 11.5 lakh from the other two accounts of Sabrang Trust, unknown to the investigation authority, by way of demand drafts on a single day,” the affidavit said.The police rejects claim made by Setalvad and Anand that most of the riot-related cases were fought free of cost by top lawyers. They said that the couple had paid over Rs 71.40 lakh to the lawyers.The affidavit said that Setalvad and Anand both “calculatingly misappropriated trusts huge funds and pocketed in their personal account” and has sought their custodial interrogation of the couple.

Will not redefine Hindutva now: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court (SC) is not going to redefine the term ‘Hindutva’. It will only examine whether invoking religion in election amounts to corrupt practice or not.Clearing the air, a seven-judge Constitution Bench on Tuesday made it clear that it would not revisit its 1995 judgment, which had defined Hindutva as a way of life. “We will not go into Hindutva at this stage,” the Bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, said.”Whether Hindutva means Hindu religion or not is a larger debate. We are not going to examine it,” Justice Thakur said. The Bench clarified it after Senior Advocate KK Venugopal, who appeared for OP Gupta, former Ambassador to Finland and author of two books on Hinduism, sought permission to hear him before taking a final call.The Constitution Bench is examining whether an appeal by a politician or a religious leader to his followers to vote for a particular party or candidate falls under the ambit of electoral malpractice under Section 123 (3) of the Representation of People Act. During the course of hearing on Tuesday, the Court asked the counsel whether a Dalit candidate seeking votes from his community amounts to corrupt practice.Earlier, the Chief Justice had observed that religion, in any form, should not be allowed in elections. The Bench also comprised Justices MB Lokur, SA Bobde, AK Goel, UU Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao.A bunch of applications have been filed by many individuals, including activist Teesta Setalvad, and organisations before the Bench. In her plea, Setalvad had sought a ban on the use of Hindutva in elections. She said religion and politics should not be mixed and a direction be passed.However, the Court declined to take up any of the applications at this stage. Two election petitions were filed against former Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader Sunder Lal Patwa and BJP leader Abhiram Singh from Maharashtra whose election was set aside by the Bombay High Court on the grounds that religion was invoked during polls. The issue has been pending for more than two decades.

Teesta Setalvad tried to ‘mix religion with politics’, spread disharmony: HRD Ministry panel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An HRD Ministry panel has claimed that Teesta Setalvad and her Sabrang trust tried to “mix religion with politics” and spread disharmony while creating curricular material for the erstwhile UPA government which had given a grant of about Rs 1.4 crore.The Committee’s finding that a prima facie case exists against her under section 153A and 153B of IPC for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc and imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration, has found favour with a top law officer.”The report of the inquiry committee is exhaustive and deals with every aspect of the matter and that action as suggested in the said report may be undertaken in terms of fixing liabilities/lapses, action for inciting disharmony and hatred and also for recovery of the money as is stipulated in the scheme itself,” the opinion of the law officer, stated to have been received by the HRD Ministry, said.He gave the opinion after going through the report of a three-member panel, set up by Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), which examined disbursal and utilisation of funds received by Setalvad for her project ‘Khoj’ under the scheme of ‘National Policy on Education’.The three-member committee comprising Supreme Court lawyer Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Gujarat Central University Vice Chancellor S A Bari and a Ministry official Gaya Prasad set up by the Ministry examined the allegations levelled by Setalvad’s former close aide Rais Khan Pathan.Pathan in his complaint has alleged that Sabrang Trust’s publications “spread dissatisfaction among the minorities in the country and project India in a poor light” and indulging in anti national activities.The finding assumes significance as Setalvad has moved the Supreme Court as an intervenor in ongoing hearing in which the seven-judge constitution bench is revisiting two-decade old judgement holding that Hindutva is a “way of life” by seeking a direction for de-linking of politics from religion.Holding that education has never been the agenda of the ‘Sabrang Trust’ in any of its documents, the report said Setalvad and her trust “appear to be trying to mix religion with politics in the classroom of young children most of whom do not appear to be from well-to-do background. “And there lies the real problem and hurdle pertaining to its eligibility” for receiving the funds.However, the Committee, which questioned the grant of money to the tune of Rs 2.05 crore, out of which Rs 1.39 crore was released as the trust was unable to utilise 50% of the amount, said that one of the reasons for its ineligibility was that the documents of the trust suggested “brazen contempt of Supreme Court by Setalvad in her writing”.She has been quoted as saying “we have been in existence today on our annals of judgement from the apex court giving a clean chit to the philosphy of ‘Hindutva’, describing it as a ‘way of life’.The report said if this is not a fit case for an offence one wonders as to what is?The committee, which examined the materials and documents submitted by Setalvad as Director of ‘Sabrang Trust’, said that the then officials of the Ministry failed to detect the “false declarations” of the trust as they may be under some sort of “compulsions” to clear the project which had not found favour with the NCERT and suggested action against them also.The panel, which dissected that “a sizeable portion” of various written materials prepared by Setalvad for the trust/ ‘Khoj’ for teachers for the students of class V and VI contains “explosive literature” which reflects “hatred” and “venom” thereby falling fairly and squarely under section 153A and 153B of the IPC.The report said that the committee is of firm view that there is a hiatus between the theory and practice of ‘Sabrang Trust’ as it is simply “whipping up identity politics” which is not conducive to the avowed purpose for which the trust has tried to impress upon in the application form.The committee arrived at this finding by going through various documents of the trust that also clearly showed that the nature of pre-conceived notions on a subject of political agenda and holding Gujarat in low esteem, bordering on political criticism “thereby rendering it ineligible ab-initio (at the outset for funds)”.It held that the public money given under the scheme of ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan’ to the trust/’Khoj’ was “clearly found to be spreading disharmony, feeling of enmity, hatred and ill will etc.”.The project ‘Khoj’ was launched by Setalvad’s NGO in some districts of Maharashtra.

Nobody can be allowed to use national symbols to garner votes in elections: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday asked whether anyone can raise the issue of deaths along the border and seek votes for a particular party.The question was among several raised during a day-long hearing to revisit its two-decade-old ‘Hindutva’ judgement. Referring to the terms “national symbols” and “national emblem” in section 123(3) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, a seven-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said nobody can be allowed to use them to garner votes in the elections. “Anybody can seek votes on the ground of national flag and national emblem and say that people are dying on the borders and so vote for a particular party. Can it be permitted,” asked the bench.”This is specifically proscribed under this provision,” senior advocate Shyam Divan said. The hearing also saw the bench observing that Parliament has consciously “widened” the scope of the term “corrupt practices” in the poll law to curb “separatist and communal” tendencies. “What is most significant in the present clause (of the RP Act) is that Parliament thought to widening the scope of ‘corrupt practices’ to curb separatist and communal tendencies during elections,” the bench, which also comprised justices Madan B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, said.The bench then raised a hypothetical question and asked if a ‘Sikh granthi’ seeks votes for a particular Hindu candidate, can it be said that this appeal “falls foul” of the provision in question. It may not amount to “corrupt practice” under the specific section of the RP Act, Divan responded. He also said that the term “his religion”, used in the provision, means religion of the candidate and not that of the spiritual leader or cleric who seek votes.The court is examining the “scope and width” of section 123(3) of the RP Act which deals with electoral malpractices amounting to “corrupt practices”, among other things.Meanwhile, three social activists — Teesta Setalvad, Shamsul Islam and Dilip Mandal — filed an application to intervene in the ongoing hearing to seek “de-linking of religion from politics”. The fresh plea, filed by Setalvad and others, said that the issue could “potentially have far-reaching consequences on the purity of the electoral process”. “The applicants are concerned about the electorate, the electoral process and the need to ensure that political parties and candidates for election do not use religion to appeal for votes. Sections 123(3) and (3A) were enacted to prevent the political parties from espousing religious sentiments for the purpose of garnering votes and get elected.”The Applicants are of the considered view that the interpretation given to Section 123(3) and (3A) of the Representation of the People Act,…has had the effect of encouraging political parties to use religious appeals for garnering votes under the color of the proposition that ‘Hindutva’ is not a religion but a ‘way of life’.” The relevant section of the RP Act deals with “corrupt practices” and reads: “The appeal by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols…, for furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate” would amount to corrupt practices.Yesterday, the apex court asked whether non-contesting spiritual leaders or clerics can be held accountable for “corrupt practices” under electoral law for asking voters to vote for a particular party or candidate. “How can a person, who himself has neither contested nor returned as a winning candidate, be tried for allegedly resorting to corrupt practices under the Representation of the People (RP) Act,” it had asked.Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for Abhiram Singh whose election as an MLA in 1990 on BJP ticket from Santacruz assembly seat in Mumbai was set aside by the High Court, referred to section 123(3) of the Act and had said that corrupt practice can only be established if either the “candidate or his agent” seek votes on the name of religion. If any other person, like late Bal Thackeray and late Pramod Mahajan in the present case, sought votes on these grounds, referred to in the RP Act, then there has to be the “consent” of the candidate, he told the bench, which also comprised . The issue assumes significance as questions were raised on its 1995 verdict which held that vote in the name of “Hindutva/Hinduism” did not prejudicially affect any candidate, and since then three election petitions are pending on the subject in the apex court. The apex court’s three-judge bench in 1995 had held that “Hindutva/Hinduism is a way of life of the people in the sub-continent” and “is a state of mind”.The judgement was delivered in the case of Manohar Joshi versus N B Patil which was authored by Justice J S Verma who found that the statement by Joshi that the ‘first Hindu State will be established in Maharashtra’ did not amount to appeal on ground of religion”. The issue of interpretation of section 123(3) again arose on January 30, 2014 before a five-judge which referred it for examination before a larger bench of seven judges.The seven judges is now dealing with the appeal filed in 1992 by Abhiram Singh. A three-judge bench on April 16, 1992 had referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench Singh’s appeal in which the same question and interpretation of Section 123(3) was raised.While the five-judge bench was hearing this matter on January 30, 2014, it was informed that an identical issue was raised in an election petition filed by Narayan Singh against BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa and the another Constitution Bench of five judges of the apex court had referred it to a larger bench of seven judges. Thereafter, the five-judge bench had referred Singh’s matter also to the Chief Justice for placing it before a seven-judge bench.

HRD panel finds Teesta Setalvad culpable for ‘spreading hatred’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A committee set up the HRD Ministry has found activist Teesta Setalvad culpable for “hatred-filled, disharmony-spreading, ill-will generating, enmity-creating explosive writings”.The then HRD Minister Smriti Irani had in 2015 formed a three-member panel comprising Supreme Court lawyer Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Gujarat Central University Vice Chancellor S A Bari and a ministry official Gaya Prasad to look into allegations against NGO Sabrang Trust, based on a complaint. The panel has submitted its report to the current HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.According to sources, the committee has recommended in its report that there is compelling evidence to book Teesta under sections 153-A and 153-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), both pertaining to hate speeches.Any person booked under the said sections can be punished with jail terms and fine.The panel is also believed to have raised questions over the manner in which the amount was allocated to the trust “Sarva Siksha Abhiyan” by the previous UPA government. It is learnt that the NCERT, which was the appraiser of the particular project, had raised some objections yet the ministry sanctioned Rs 3 crore for the project.Sources said while the committee has not found any misappropriation of the funds, it has blamed the ministry for the manner in which the amount was sanctioned in the previous dispensation and if the panel’s recommendations are accepted, the officials then involved in the process can also face action.Setalvad, when contacted, claimed the allegations of misappropriation of funds could not be proved and to counter that charges of spreading hatred have been levelled. “In typical proto fascist style allegations have covered the infamous misappropriation of funds to now spreading hatred. Creating hatred…against whom? The RSS? The charge of misappropriation obviously could not be proven and so it is now down to this,” she told PTI in an email response.While HRD ministry officials did not comment on the contents of the report, they confirmed its submission.HRD ministry had also sought an opinion from the Law Ministry over the issue and is awaiting a response following which a final decision will be taken by Javadekar in this regard.In June, the Ministry of Home Affairs had cancelled the licence of the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.The trust also faces the allegation of using Ford grant to identify and lobby with media persons to “address communalism and caste-based discrimination in India”.

Gulberg society verdict: 11 convicted sentenced to life imprisonment, 12 others get seven years jail

The special SIT court on Friday sentenced 11 convicted in the Gulberg society massacre case to life imprisonment till death. The remaining 12 convicts were awarded 7 years imprisonment each, while one convict was given a 10-year sentence.The Gulberg Society massacre had left 69 people dead, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri in 2002. More than 14 years after the massacre, the SIT court had earlier delivered its verdict in the case on June 2 and pronounced the quantum of sentence today. Judge PB Desai had convicted 11 persons of offences, including murder, while 13 others were charged with lesser offences. The court had acquitted 36 others. Out of the 66 accused, six died during the trial. The 24 convicted include Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Atul Vaidya.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The court said the 2002 incident was the darkest day in civil society,” said RC Kodekar, Public Prosecutor.However, reacting sharply to the verdict, wife of late Efsan Jafri, Zakia Jafri said she was not satisfied with the punishment. “After so many people died, that’s all the court could decide? Just 12 guilty? I will have to fight this. They brutally killed Ehsan Jafri, and this is the quantum of sentence? They should have all got life imprisonment. So many people, all being violent. How did court pick out those for lesser sentence? I am not satisfied, I am not happy. I will have to consult my lawyers again, this is not justice,” she said. On the other hand activist Teesta Setalvad said that she welcomed the judgement, but was disappointed about the lesser sentence. “We will appeal against the lesser sentence for those who haven’t been awarded life imprisonment. We are not for revenge verdict but reformative justice,” she said.The Gulberg incident was one of the nine cases of the Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT. A mob of 400 people had attacked the Gulberg society during the riots, which were triggered after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire, killing 58 people, including karsevaks. The incident took place near the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002.(With Agency Inputs)

Unmasking Teesta Setalvad: Here’s why her NGO has lost its FCRA registration

The cancellation of FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) registration of Sabrang Trust is big blow to Teesta Setalvad and her secularist patrons and followers, both inside and outside of the country. Even the United Nations’ human rights experts have urged India to repeal the law restricting civil society access to foreign funding.

Teesta and her husband, Javed Anand — despite their documented acts of omission and commission, siphoning off of money for personal gains — have for long been taken as moving liberalist-secularist mascot. After all, the couple kept wounds of the 2002 Gujarat riots alive and used all possible means under the sun to somehow implicate Narendra Modi and have him under criminal trial for complicity in the riots. However, when charges were levelled against them by the authorities, her backers and sympathisers played the “victim card”, made noises of “vendetta” and charged the Modi government of total intolerance towards voices of dissent.

File photo of Teesta Setalvad. AFPFile photo of Teesta Setalvad. AFP

File photo of Teesta Setalvad. AFP

The key question here is — should no action be taken against her? Why does any action by the present government is dubbed as “vendetta” when Teesta has filed cases after cases against Narendra Modi? Should Teesta and her husband be treated differently under the law because they fall in the bracket of so called liberalist-secularist who challenged a “communalist” Narendra Modi’s regime in Gujarat?

The Foreigners division, FCRA wing, of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its order says, based on information received from our sources and scrutiny of various records of the Trust available with Firstpost, prima facie violations of various provisions of FCRA was noticed. An on-site inspection or a raid was conducted of books and accounts and records from 9-11 June 2015 at its Juhu Tara office. On 9 September FCRA registration of suspended and a show cause notice issued to Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Aanand. They were given, which MHA says as per their request, a personal hearing on 11 April 2016. On 16 June, the registration was cancelled with “immediate effect”.

Consider some of the FCRA violations done by Teesta and Javed Anand —

1. Teesta trust Sabrang made direct payment of around Rs 12 lakh from FCRA designated account to City Bank and Union Bank of India for credit card payments of cards belonging to Teesta and husband Javed Anand. The money as per the MHA order was used purely for personal gains. The foreign contributions went the couple personal expenditure like dining in hotels, food takeaways ordered at residence, cakes and sweets from premium outlets and also on sundry items, sanitary napkins, etc. That was in clear violation of Section 8(1) of FCRA 2010.

2. They spent up to 65 percent of the FCRA amount on administrative expenses, something which is not allowed as per the law.

3. Section 3(1)(B)(H) of FCRA says correspondents, columnists, cartoonists, editor, owners are included under Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited. Teesta and Javed Anand are chief functionaries/Trustees of Sabrang Trust and also work as director, co-editors, printers, publishers of Sabrang communications which published a magazine communalism combat. Both entities functioned from same premises with same set of staff, infrastructure and other resources.

4. It transferred around Rs 2.50 lakh from Sabrang foreign contribution account to domestic account, which is liable to treated as misutilisation of funds.

5. Bulk purchase of sms for propaganda through foreign fund.

6. While Sabrung was registered for “educational and social” purposes, it received and spent substantive amount of foreign contribution under “cultural” head.

7. Even Javed Anand’s international medical policy for attending a Lahore Conference was paid by foreign contribution. Same was the case for his travel related expenses and purchase of books for attending a PUCL conference.

There are reports that Teesta’s Sabrang Communications and Publishing, which is not registered under FCRA, received d $290,000 from the US-based Ford Foundation between 2004 and 2014 without the government approval. The Ford Foundation was subsequently put on the watch-list following a Gujarat government complaint that it was interfering in India’s “internal affairs” and encouraging Teesta’s NGOs to promote “communal disharmony”

Teesta’s national or international fame came after she, her husband and some others formed an NGO “Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)” in April 2002. The CPJ began to litigate in various courts against the alleged complicity of the Narendra Modi and other persons in authority in Gujarat government. But the zeal to somehow nail Modi and in the process make personal monetary gains (fame in any case by a byproduct) made her stray from the path — use whatever means to achieve those goals.

Though there are cases against her, Gujarat Police can’t arrest her for now because she has got interim protection from Supreme Court where she had filed an appeal after Gujarat High Court rejected her anticipatory bail application.

The charges of misappropriation of funds for personal gains and tutoring witnesses, evening putting up false witnesses against her is long but they are in the legal domains and are still being fought in courts and under scrutiny of relevant authorities.

Consider some of the charges against her, made by her erstwhile associates and findings of Supreme Court monitored SIT.

First to come out against her was Zaheera Sheikh, a girl who for sometime had become face of riot survivor and key witness in Best Bakery case. Zaheera, however, was later charged of perjury.

The big blow for Teesta came in April 2009 when Times of India published a report claiming that the Supreme Court constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Gujarat riot cases had submitted before the Court that Teesta Setalvad had cooked up cases of violence to spice up the incidents. The SIT which is headed by former CBI director, R K Raghavan has said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents by Teesta Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of “cooking up macabre tales of killings”.

The court was told that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT and it was found that the witnesses had not actually witnessed the incidents and they were tutored and the affidavits were handed over to them by Setalvad.

In 2011 Teesta Setalvad’s former aide Rais Khan Pathan filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging manipulation of evidence, which were in the form of statements of witnesses, by her in five sensitive post-Godhra riot cases. He alleged that he was employed to convince witnesses to give statements in riot cases, Khan was quoted as saying, “On the basis of hundreds of such false and fabricated affidavits prepared by CJP, the Supreme Court considered to transfer riot cases outside Gujarat.”

The worst of all charge which virtually unmasked Teesta came in 2013 when 12 residents of the Gulbarg Society accused her of collecting donations in the name of riot victims but failing to use them for their benefit and sent a legal notice to her. The notice said Setalvad has “collected huge donations from national and international organisations in the name of providing financial assistance for reconstruction of houses or developing the society into a museum…” But despite collecting foreign donation of Rs 63 lakh in the account of CJP and Rs 88 lakh in the account of Sabrang Trust, nothing has been passed on to the members of society. The surviving victims, in a separate letter to the city Police Commissioner, have also sought a ban on the NGO from organising annual event on February 28 as a mark of solidarity to the people who lost their lives during the 2002 riots.

This eventually led to filing of an FIR against her in January 2014 by Ahmedabad Police, a case in which her arrest has been stayed by the Supreme Court.

Now that Modi government has made its big move, cancellation of FCRA license to Sabrang Trust, chocking her major source of funding, her very most visible backers in various echelons have lot more ground cover to protect her from the proverbial long arms of the law.

From Greenpeace to Ford Foundation: Modi govt’s controversial crackdown on NGOs

As the Modi government completes two years at the Centre, one of the major criticisms it has drawn is in its handling of NGOs run by international bodies or funded by them in India.

On Wednesday, senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising’s NGO, Lawyers Collective (LC) was served a notice suspending its FCRA registration for six months on Monday by the Home Ministry. This means that the association is now barred from receiving any foreign funds.

Jaising launched an attack on the government in a televised interview with NDTV. She termed the move as an “intimidating tactic by the government” to clamp down on her NGO. She further said that LC has not yet received a formal notice from the Centre, and that it has only been released to the press. She also pointed out that the first time the notice was mentioned in the press was the day Amit Shah had to appear in court in the Sohrabuddin murder case.

Jaising has actively protested against the decision of the court discharging Shah in the case.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. ReutersHome Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

The home ministry headed by Rajnath Singh has cracked down on a number of NGOs which have got foreign funding in the past couple of years, but controversy and criticism have marred many of his  ministry’s decisions.

In 2015, the government cancelled Greenpeace’s registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) for allegedly working against the country’s economic progress.

The decision of the home ministry came five months after it suspended its licence under FCRA for 180 days. It had also frozen its seven bank accounts, alleging that the environmental group was working against the country’s economic progress and public interest.

The government had cited alleged violation of norms by the NGO by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without informing the authorities concerned.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the report cites various incidents including protests against nuclear and coal power plants in the country, and also accuses the organisation of receiving foreign funding in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 (FCRA).

“It is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence,” it notes. The efforts are focused on “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy”, The Indian Express quotes the IB report as saying.

While suspending its registration under the FCRA, government had also said the NGO under-reported and repeatedly mentioned inaccurate amounts of its foreign contributions.

The government had cited alleged violation of norms by the NGO by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without informing the authorities concerned.

Greenpeace, however, maintained that it did not receive any funding from government bodies or corporates and relied only on individual contributions to fund their campaigns. It termed the government action as an attempt to “silence campaigns”.

In April 2015, the government placed the Ford Foundation, an American charitable organisation on a watch list saying it was funding groups which acted against the national interest.

“Among the violations noticed, it was found that the Ford Foundation had been involved in funding non-FCRA registered entities which amounts to serious violation of the FCRA 2010 law,” a home ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying.

On 15 April, the Gujarat government sought a probe into the role of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO alleging that it misused funds received from Ford Foundation to create ‘communal disharmony’.

“We learnt that the funds which they received, especially from the (US-based) Ford Foundation, were actually used for disturbing the communal harmony and carrying out anti-national propaganda against India in foreign countries,” Gujarat Minister of State for Home Rajnikant Patel told PTI. “We have written a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking probe into the role of Setalvad’s NGO (Sabrang Trust) after we found out funds given to the NGO were misused.”

“During the investigation of Gulberg Society museum funds embezzlement case, these things came to light,” Patel said. The Ford Foundation had given more than $500,000 to Setalvad’s NGO, he said.

Setalvad was pursuing legal cases against Modi, accusing him of failing to stop anti-Muslim rioting that killed at least 1,000 people when he was chief minister of Gujarat. Modi denied the charges and was exonerated in a Special Investigation Team (SIT) inquiry in 2012.

A top official at the charity had said the fallout has hit projects that fight child marriage, provide clean water in slums and feed pregnant women.

Around the same time, the government placed the Catholic charity Caritas on a government watch list. The group has been operating in India for more than 50 years and works on health, education and poverty-related issues. A home ministry official told AFP that Caritas had violated India’s foreign funding laws by financing groups that were working “against the country”.

The government in all cancelled the foreign funding licences of nearly 9,000 charities last year.

The Prime Minister has criticised what he calls “five-star activists” and a government intelligence report in 2014 reportedly said they were working with foreign powers to undermine India’s economic growth.

With inputs from agencies.

Rohith Vemula’s mother stopped from entering the Hyderabad University campus

Former MP Prakash Ambedkar, deceased Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika, and a few others were today stopped from entering the Hyderabad Central University campus.”We did not allow them inside the campus so they addressed the students at the main gate,” HCU Chief Security Officer T V Rao said.On March 23, the varsity authorities had decided not to allow any outsider, including media-persons and politicians, on the campus.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The varsity is on boil since the suicide of Rohith and subsequent agitation by a section of students against the resumption of duty by the Vice Chancellor.Ambedkar Students Association had organised B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebrations for which his grandson Prakash Ambedkar, Radhika and others were invited.On March 31, HCU security personnel had stopped three Kerala MPs and social activist Teesta Setalvad from entering.

Would have used machine guns: When General Dyer explained how Jallianwala Bagh massacre could’ve been worse

On 14 November 1919, almost eight months after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a committee was formed after orders were issued by Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State of India. The committee consisted of: Lord Hunter, Chairman of the CommissionMr. Justice George C. Rankin of CalcuttaSir Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad, Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University and advocate of the Bombay High Court<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mr W.F. Rice, member of the Home Department
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ALSO READ PM Modi salutes martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh massacreMr. Thomas Smith, Member of the Legislative Council of the United ProvincesSardar Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Khan, lawyer from Gwalior StateMr H.C. Stokes, Secretary of the Commission and member of the Home DepartmentOn 19 November, after the commission had listened to witnesses, and then heard General Dyer. Dyer refused to be represented by legal counsel, he stated that he had gone to deliberately open fire if he found a crowd there. He said: “I think it quite possible that I could have dispersed the crowd without firing but they would have come back again and laughed, and I would have made, what I consider, a fool of myself.” He reiterated his belief that the crowd in the Bagh was one of “rebels who were trying to isolate my forces and cut me off from other supplies. Therefore, I considered it my duty to fire on them and to fire well”.After Mr. Justice Rankin had questioned Dyer, Sir Chimanlal Setalvad questioned him. Here’s how the conversation unfolded: Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘You took two armoured cars with you?’Dyer: ‘Yes.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘Those cars had machine guns?’Dyer: ‘Yes.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘And when you took them you meant to use the machine guns against the crowd, did you?”Dyer: ‘If necessary. If the necessity arose, and I was attacked, or anything else like that, I presume I would have used them.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘When you arrived there you were not able to take the armoured cars in because the passage was too narrow?’Dyer: ‘Yes.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘Supposing the passage was sufficient to allow the armoured cars to go in, would you have opened fire with the machine guns?’Dyer: ‘I think, probably, yes.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘In that case the casualties would have been very much higher?’Dyer: ‘Yes.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘And you did not open fire with the machine guns simply by the accident of the armoured cars not being able to get in?’Dyer: ‘I have answered you. I have said that if they had been there the probability is that I would have opened fire with them.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘With the machine guns straight?’Dyer: ‘With the machine guns.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘I take it that your idea in taking that action was to strike terror?’Dyer: ‘Call it what you like. I was going to punish them. My idea from the military point of view was to make a wide impression.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘To strike terror not only in the city of Amritsar, but throughout the Punjab?’Dyer: ‘Yes, throughout the Punjab. I wanted to reduce their morale; the morale of the rebels.’Chimanlal Setalvad: ‘Did it occur to you that by adopting this method of “frightfulness” –excuse the term-you were really doing a great disservice to the British Raj by driving discontent deep?’Dyer: ‘I did not like the idea of doing it, but I also realized that it was the only means of saving life and that any reasonable man with justice in his mind would realize that I had done the right thing; it was a merciful though horrible act and they ought to be thankful to me for doing it. I thought I would be doing a jolly lot of good and they would realize that they were not to be wicked.’Read more about the horrible incident here…

Stopped using controversial textbook long time ago, clarifies Don Bosco school to Smriti Irani

In her fiery speech at Lok Sabha, Smriti Irani brought up about how the UPA had commissioned a book for class 4 written by Teesta Setalvad. She pointed out controversial parts of the book and said it was still being used by Don Bosco High School, Matunga.However according to media reports, the school has now clarified that they stopped using the book over a decade ago. Father Bernard Fernandes, principal of the school, was quoted as saying,“These books were used by some of our schools on an experimental basis for a year.” The school authorities were reportedly surprised at how Irani procured a copy of the book.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The book courted controversy at the time with the Shiv Sena protesting against its use.Smriti Irani, in her speech countering allegations of saffronisation in educational institutions, said that she would quit politics if any of the VCs accused her of it. She then gave several examples to show how the previous regime had tried to subvert the education process by giving several examples, the Don Bosco one being one among them. But going by the school authorities’ claim, the book had been withdrawn a while long time ago.