Surendranagar, Gujarat: Nearly 1,000 people from 26 villages of Gujarat’s Surendranagar district participated in a protest rally on Wednesday to oppose the cancellation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of Navsarjan Trust, an NGO working for Dalit rights in the state.
In December, the home ministry had cancelled the FCRA license of the organisation, hence barring the NGO from receiving funds from overseas sources.
According to a Times of India report, after granting a renewal in early August, the Centre had cancelled the licence saying that the organisation’s “undesirable activities aimed to affect prejudicially the harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic and regional groups, castes or communities”.
According to a press release issued by the organisation, protestors and members of the NGO have challenged these grounds, saying, “Are we anti-nationals because we struggle for our rights?”
The NGO’s founding member Martin Macwan said that the activities of the Dalit rights organisation had been a “threat to the BJP”.
The FCRA cancellation had even forced the Gujarat-based NGO to lay-off about 80 of its employees.
“It is impossible for us to pay salaries of our employees after the Centre cancelled our FCRA licence,” Macwan told PTI. “We are facing acute cash crunch due to that move.”
Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani, along with activists Siddharth Parmar, Manishi Jani, Valjibhai Patel and Manjula Pradeep, addressed the participants of the rally on Wednesday.
The NGO is planning another protest rally on January 26 in Rajkot followed by one on February 12 in the Bhavnagar district.
(With PTI inputs)