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How Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Failed Amnesty Intl India as Modi Government Shut it Down

How Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Failed Amnesty Intl India as Modi Government Shut it Down

  • History will not forgive Indian American lawmakers who are enabling Hindutva fascism in the U.S. and in India.

The news of the forcible shut down of Amnesty International India (Amnesty) is spreading far and wide. Newspapers have published numerous op-eds, activists are planning protests, and foreign governments and international organizations are mobilizing to push back on the Modi government’s undemocratic and vindictive action.

This desperate act of the Indian state appears to be a retaliation to Amnesty’s decision to publish fact-finding reports on the Kashmir lockdown and the complicity of the Delhi police in the recent pogroms. 

That courageous work of a reputable, wholly-India funded, human rights organization is now being deliberately portrayed by some BJP political leaders as a moral fight against the ‘Western concept’ of human rights. 

As a Hindu, I take strong exception to the xenophobic and dangerous notion that Hinduism somehow has a different moral yardstick to measure a human being’s yearning for basic rights to life and liberty. 

Clearly, the Modi government’s move was designed to send a larger message that it will not tolerate any public dissent, even as it uses the COVID crisis as a cover to shut down or render toothless all institutions designed to uphold the Indian Constitution.

Amnesty has publicly shared the chronology of events leading up to its decision to shut its doors in its September 30 press release.

It describes a feeding frenzy with multiple state agencies descending upon the organization to look for any shred of evidence of wrongdoing, which they did not seem to find. It talks about interviews with employees, in which they were threatened and urged to leave the organization. Amnesty also faced a preposterous charge of money laundering, designed to make it tougher for the organization to seek court intervention. And, finally, the Government of India decided to freeze Amnesty’s bank accounts, knowing full well that this would force the organization to shut its doors.

The Congressman has made no effort whatsoever to express any concern about the dire situation in India, especially for the religious minorities. His studied silence clearly casts a huge shadow over his claim as a champion of democratic values. 

What is less known is the hectic behind-the-scenes efforts to save Amnesty, led by many concerned people in India as well as internationally, including me. 

For my part, I made a last ditch effort to get support from U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, who asked for and received a full personal briefing directly from the Executive Director of Amnesty in a zoom call on September 3.

My hope was that his avowed proximity to the BJP government and his self- portrayal as a champion of democracy and human rights might prompt him to intervene with the Delhi government on behalf of Amnesty and persuade them to step back from the precipice.

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Since January, I have been in regular communication with the Congressman, sharing, at his request, updates on the worsening state-sponsored violence against Indian Muslims. At every stage, he has been expressing his concerns at the unfolding events, and I have been urging him to speak up for human rights in India. 

Unfortunately, all of my efforts have been in vain, as the Congressman has made no effort whatsoever to express any concern about the dire situation in India, especially for the religious minorities. His studied silence clearly casts a huge shadow over his claim as a champion of democratic values. 

My zoom call with the Congressman, along with Amnesty was my final attempt to give him a chance to walk his talk. As a prominent voice in the U.S. Congress and in the Indian-American community, he was in a position for over three weeks to say or do something to stop the attack on Amnesty. Much to my regret, he failed.

Amnesty and other champions of marginalized people in India shall survive to speak another day. But, in my view, history will never forgive Indian-American lawmakers who say on the one hand that they want to end the authoritarian and undemocratic Trump presidency here, but on the other hand are knowingly enabling the Modi government’s repressive and dangerous policies in India. 


Raju Rajagopal is co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights, a U.S.-based advocacy organization dedicated to speaking for the human rights of all communities in the U.S. and in India. To find out more, please log on to www.hindusforhumanrights.org.

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View Comments (7)
  • Author Raju Rajagopal has no deeper knowledge of Amnesty and unaware of the ground reality of what’s happening in Kashmir and India as a whole.

    Amnesty was part of British Secret Service and founded by them to spy on vested intelligence efforts. Amnesty also played for CIA in many of the war and Intellogence missions. Amnesty is still only an appealing storefront for undercover activities. You may google about ‘ Amnesty’s British intelligence connection’.

    These type of shallow writers should not be writing articles and misleading people with false info.

  • I am outraged and saddened by the Indian government’s freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts. This act was preceded by several years of harassment documented by the Amnesty International-India staff, and which resulted in the organization being forced to shutter its offices in the country, bringing their work in the country to a halt. For the government of a democratic nation like India to treat a nonprofit human rights organization in this manner is outrageous, especially given the great need there is for human rights protections, in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.

  • Thank you for making the correlatiom between inhumane acts here in the U.S. and how it resonates across the world. Indeed, inaction from a U.S. leader sends a message . We are an interconnected world. Tha k you for your article.

  • *BJP/RSS aren’t just incompetent.*

    *It isn’t just a lack of will to do the right thing.*

    *Rather, it is willfully doing what the ideologues of Sangh had envisaged to enslave the nation to the Hindutva Supremacist Manusmriti based ideology:*
    *👉A devastated economy rendering the whole country starving.*
    *👉A highly divided society along caste, creed, region, religion, and what not.*
    *👉Complete anarchy/lawlessness.*

  • It seems like Savita Nair is reading a WhatsApp forward received from the moronic IT cell. The whole world is aware of what’s going on in Kashmir and India as a whole. Let’s wait for the US politics to get revamped – and the new president will definitely get Modi and his extreme Hindutva thug brigand on the right track.

  • Seems India is a on a suicide mission !!

    Self destruct button has been pressed and slowly we are sinking deep ..deeper !!

  • Very unfortunate that Modi BJP and RSS are trying to bring High Caste hindu rule under their brand name Hindu Rashtra in India. RSS’ high caste Hindus supported British during their rule and assisted them in catching Indian freedom fighters to be sent to gallows and to jail. After India’s independence, RSS/high caste Hindus never saluted Indian flag for more than 65 years and never believed in India’s secular Constitution. They praised Hitler’s Nazism and have been mistreating majority Hindus who are called low castes/Dalits/tribals/Christians/Muslims/Sikhs/Jains/Buddhists, etc who form 92% of India’s population and the rest are high caste Hindus. High caste Hindus regard themselves as supreme and they are equal to Bramha. People have to work for them, make money for them. Obey them, Only Do schooling based on 200 subcastes, cannot wear slippers/shoes in front of them, nor wear pagdi. Only hold jobs which they dictate and live and drink water from where they order. Low castes cannot become Hindu priests for Ram Temple or 99% of Hindu temples. Only high castes can control all temple and the money in USA, West Indies,etc. They used to force every household to donate one daughter to temples and to ashrams where high caste hindus can go for satisfying animal lust. Aurangazeb the Mughal ruler banned this and banned human sacrifices to Goddess Kali presided by high caste Hindu priests, and banned them from changing Hindu scriptures from saying they are the supreme caste and everybody has to donate and obey them. They hate Mughals/Muslims for this and want revenge. They themselves are Aryans and worship Aryan god Ram and Krishna and force everybody to donate to their Temple.

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