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TN NGOs accused of FCRA violation, anti-development funding suspected: Legal Rights Protection

The Legal Rights Protection Forum, a legal activist group, has written to the Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on November 6, urging the commission to request the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other relevant intelligence agencies to register a case and take further action against the Tuticorin Diocesan Association, a Tamil Nadu-based non-governmental organisation.

It also asked the national commission to constitute a multi-disciplinary team of child welfare experts, chartered accountants and law enforcement officials and conduct a detailed investigation of the activities of the NGO and decide whether it has right to function as a registered society.

The activist group alleged that the Tuticorin Diocesan Association has continued to receive funds from foreign players despite the suspension and cancellation of its FCRA registration on February 25, 2015, by the then Union Law Minister, Kiren Rijiju because of adverse reports received from the intelligence agencies.

However, data from the Ministry of Home Affairs, showed that the NGO continued to receive Rs 4,45,07,214 into its Bank of Baroda account at Tuticorin branch, which is designated to receive foreign funds, from 2015-16 onwards. Hence, the call to request the ED and other relevant law enforcement agencies to register a case in this matter of economic offense.

The NGO claims that it is running and maintaining Homes for destitute children, specialised adoption agencies, homes for mentally retarded boys and rescue homes for boys and girls. It also mentions that it is running and maintaining educational institutions and religious places.

At the time of suspension/cancellation of the FCRA registration of The Tuticorin Diocesan Association, the major reason provided by the Indian government was that the "NGOs were using foreign funds for anti-national activities”.

Detailed analysis of the flow of funds revealed that ‘Child Welfare’ was only an excuse to carry out anti-national activities which have a serious bearing on the territorial integrity, economic prosperity and political stability of the nation.

The Legal Rights Protection Forum further added that while receipt of funds under the FCRA route even after cancellation of the FCRA licence of the NGO, was a serious violation, but the large-scale diversion of the funds raises even more serious questions and merits a deeper investigation by concerned authorities.

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