Home News Indian government withdraws foreign funding license from prominent Jesuit research institute

Indian government withdraws foreign funding license from prominent Jesuit research institute

The Indian government has withdrawn the authorization for the Indian Social Institute (ISI) in New Delhi to receive international funds. This key research center, established by the Jesuits, was previously scrutinized by government authorities in July of the preceding year.

Officials from the Interior Ministry pointed to supposed infractions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which governs the issuance and renewal of licenses, though they did not elaborate further.

The FCRA license serves as a mechanism for financial oversight to prevent the improper use or redirection of overseas funds and is subject to renewal every five years for NGOs and think tanks active in India.

However, since amendments were made in 2020, the FCRA registration process has been increasingly utilized to suppress organizations critical of the government. Numerous non-profit groups, including Oxfam India and several Catholic entities like the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa, have experienced abrupt license revocations.

The license for the Missionaries of Charity was later restored after a public uproar ensued. Nonetheless, just last month, another prominent research institute, the Center for Policy Research, had its license withdrawn.

Founded in 1951 by the Indian Jesuit Jerome D’Souza to assist the newly independent nation’s development, the ISI, as described by its current executive director, Fr. Sebasti L. Raj, has exclusively engaged in social research without involvement in evangelization. Despite formerly operating six departments, it now maintains only one.

An issue of its quarterly magazine “Social Action,” known for its academic quality and recognized by the relevant Indian authority, was recently dedicated to the National Education Policy 2020.

- Newsletter -

It described the policy as ambitious with significant challenges and opportunities, yet criticized it for embedding Hindutva ideologies and undermining the secular nature and minority education legacy of the country.

A prior edition of the magazine addressing India’s internal conflicts, including in Kashmir and Nagaland, highlighted the violence against marginalized communities and minorities fueled by the pursuit of Hindu supremacy under the Hindutva ideology, a stance aligned with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) far-right ideology.

Fr. Sebasti L. Raj recounted to AsiaNews that the institute’s license was revoked in 1991 due to the involvement of Fr. Stan Swamy, a Jesuit dedicated to defending the rights of the Adivasis and who had served as the director of the institute’s Bangalore branch.

Following negotiations with government officials, the ISI regained its FCRA license, yet remained under governmental scrutiny. Fr. Stan was arrested on unfounded charges and died in 2021 in a Mumbai prison at age 84 after nine months in custody.

This article has been edited to fit the writing style of LiCAS.news

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: yourvoice@licas.news

Support Our Mission

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.

Exit mobile version