WASHINGTON, March 9 (APP): The US State Department on Wednesday expressed concern over the closure of a US-based Christian charity, Compassion International, in India following accusations by the Indian government that it was funding religious conversation.
“We are concerned, when we see a group like Compassion International, which we believe is working and doing important work in India and is closed down, that it’s matter of concern, but certainly we’ll that with the Indian Government,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a briefing.
According to a report by the New York Times, the Compassion International has denied Indian allegations, saying that the Indian government has given them no opportunity to refute the allegations.
The government of Prime Minister Narandera Modi has been criticized by encouraging Hinduvta, Hindu nationalism, which is creating sufferings for religious minorities including Muslim and Christians.
The Compassion International, which was helping thousands of children by providing them meals, medical care or tuition fee, is closing its operations after operating for 48 years in India. More than 11,000 NGOs, including foreign organizations, have lost their licenses to accept foreign funds since Prime Minister Modi took over in 2014, according to the NYT report.
Responding to a question, Spokesman Toner unfortunately, a number of foreign-funded NGOs in India over the past couple of years have encountered significant challenges in continuing their operations.
“And we believe it’s imperative that all parties work transparently and cooperatively in a way that, obviously, respects India’s laws but also encourages a transparent process, and these are views that we’ve made clear to the Indian Government,” he said.
Mr. Toner said that the United States strongly advocate for a strong civil society and organizations that were working around the world. He also expressed concern over the closure of another Christian charity, Mercy Corps which has been deregistered in Turkey.
“These NGOs do valuable work overseas. Certainly, these countries and governments have their own reasons for the laws they pass, but we believe it should be transparent and clear why they’re shutting down these organizations.”
The NYT report quoting a foreign ministry official alleged that Compassion International was violating Indian law by engaging in religious activities.