107 US lawmakers urge India to allow NGO to continue work

107 members of the US Congress have written to India’s Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh to allow the controversial American charity ‘Compassion International’ (CI) to continue its work in India.

The lawmakers have asked to give a "temporary reprieve" to the organisation until a more permanent solution can be found under the Indian laws for the Christian organisation to function.

The ministry had recently instructed Indian banks to not process the organisation’s wire transfers without its approval. In December, the Home Ministry of India said it was unlikely to reconsider the decision, notwithstanding appeals by American authorities.

‘Compassion International’, one of the country’s biggest donors, had been accused of engaging in religious conversions.

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee
Congressman Ed Royce. Photo courtesy: Congress.gov

Led by Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee, and its Ranking Member Eliot Engel, 107 lawmakers from both Democratic and Republican parties have signed the letter written to India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

"The Christian charity organisation would soon be forced to end its programme in India, through which it provides critical tuition, nutrition and medical services to more than 145,000 children," the letter said.

"We want to be clear with you that we expect all American entities operating within India to respect India’s laws, including Compassion. Having seen the important poverty alleviation work being done by CI, it is our sincere hope that this situation can be resolved quickly by your issuing a temporary reprieve," according to the letter dated March 21.

Expressing the deep concern over the alleged lack of "transparency and consistency" in Indian government's enforcement of the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act, the letter warned that the ongoing case of Compassion International will have harmful consequences for many Indian children.

The signatories include Indian-American Rep Ami Bera and Rep Joe Wilson.