India’s economic intelligence unit on Thursday raided the southern Indian office of rights group Amnesty International, alleging it violated laws involving foreign funding.
The raid started in the afternoon and was continuing into the night, group spokesperson Smriti Singh said.
The Enforcement Directorate accused Amnesty International of bypassing Indian laws and illegally receiving 360 million rupees ($4.86 million) from abroad for its activities in the region, according to the New Delhi Television news channel.
Singh said the group would issue a statement after the raid was over in its office in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state.
Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar defended the government raid, saying it aimed to stamp out any illegal activity.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took office in 2014, thousands of humanitarian and rights groups have lost their registrations to receive foreign funding, effectively shutting many down.
Thursday’s raid came two weeks after Indian authorities conducted searches in the Bangalore offices of environmental group Greenpeace and other establishments associated with it.
The government says its restrictions on rights groups and their “donor-driven activism” were merely to hold them accountable. (VOA)