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Civil society under siege, in India

  • Published
    5th Jan, 2024

Context:

The last bastion for India’s democracy is being targeted, with the anti-communal and progressive civic space under the most serious attack by the state.

Extent of Attack on Civil Society Organizations

  • High-Level Attack: Organizations facing severe funding crises and legal actions leading to potential imprisonment.
  • Moderate-Level Attack: Entities experiencing significant curbs and limitations due to state interventions.
  • Low-Level Attack: Groups subjected to minor impact, often engaged in causes beyond anti-communal issues.

Impact on Various Organizations and Their Responses

  • Anti-Communal Groups: Bodies strongly fighting communalism facing significant state suppression, funding depletion, and legal charges.
  • Neutral/Moderate Entities: Even non-communal institutions facing restrictive state actions, affecting their functioning and progress.
  • Non-Active Anti-Communal Groups: Organizations less engaged in anti-communal causes experiencing comparatively lower attacks.

Instruments Deployed by the State and Their Implications

  • Legal and Penal Consequences: Charges like money laundering and investigations leading to imprisonment for NGO officials.
  • Regulatory Amendments: Amendments to laws like FCRA and Income-Tax Act impacting funding sources and tax exemptions.
  • Governmental Intimidation: Imposing stringent regulations, monitoring, and investigating NGOs and their donors, impacting their operations.
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