MP demands stricter FCRA norms for checking NGOs’ foreign funding

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday urged the Centre to formulate stricter guidelines under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to keep a tab on funds received from Islamic countries.

Chandrasekhar said in a statement that a recent report on scrutiny of records of three years on the FCRA website revealed that approximately Rs 134 crore had been received by Salafist NGOs from Islamic countries.

“There are many non-governmental organisations and institutions that are receiving funds from radical groups based overseas and misusing these funds for subversive activities,” he said.

“These funds from Islamic charities are primarily for construction and expansion of buildings — schools, orphanages and madrassas. However, many of the organisations receiving such funds are run on core Salafist beliefs, which are against Sufi Islam, as practiced in the Indian subcontinent,” Chandrasekhar said.

The MP said he had written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on October 25 for an overhaul of FCRA norms, prohibition of funds to religious institutions and also demanded an audit on the funds and recipients.

Welcoming action against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, Chandrasekhar said action against Naik’s NGO was a “decisive step to clamp down on individuals and institutions who are funded from overseas but who misuse these funds to create dangerous pockets of radicalism and fundamentalism”.

On Monday, the Home Ministry served a notice on Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation for cancellation of its FCRA licence.

“This case of Zakir Naik is not an isolated one. Such largescale misuse of the FCRA route has gone on unchallenged for so long and has created dangerous pockets of radicalism and fundamentalism as the recent arrests by the National Investigation Agency are proving,” the MP said.