Over 600 citizens, including human rights activists, on Tuesday said that the income tax raids last week at the offices of the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation, non-government organisation Oxfam India and think tank Centre for Policy Research were alarming and unfounded.
In a solidarity statement, the citizens expressed concerns that the government “in the not-too-distant future will come for us, each one of us. Not just for civil society. Or civil servants. Or any other group.”
The offices of the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation and Oxfam India in Bengaluru and the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi were raided by the Income Tax department on September 7.
The raids at the Centre for Policy Research ended the next day, while Oxfam India and the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation said that it went on till the early hours of Friday. Oxfam India had also said that income tax officials had barred their team members from leaving the premises during the raids and that the internet was shut down and their mobile phones were confiscated.
On Tuesday, signatories to the statement also expressed solidarity to the officers of the Income Tax department who were ordered to carry out these raids “without questioning either their government or their conscience”.
The signatories include activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Cedric Prakash, Deepthi Sirla and John Dayal and representatives of organisations such as National Alliance of People’s Movements, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and Where Are The Women.
They also noted that the organisations that were raided are not against any government.
“They are for the nation. Just as we are. All of us,” the statement said. “ And the more we remind ourselves and our government of this, the more they will remember that they are here not for themselves, but for us. For all of us.”
The Income Tax department has not yet issued an official statement about the raids. However, unidentified officials had told The New Indian Express that the authorities checked receipts of funds of the organisations received under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, which allows foreign donations.