'Defame and divert': Cong hits out at Modi govt over RGF's FCRA cancellation

General Secretary in charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh, in a statement, said: "Over the Deepavali weekend, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, cancelled the FCRA registrations of both the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT). They recycle old charges against the RGF and RGCT. This is to defame and divert public attention from issues of day-to-day concern to them."

The Congress on Sunday hit out the government for cancelling the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act license of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, saying it is rattled due to success of the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'.

General Secretary in charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh, in a statement, said: "Over the Deepavali weekend, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, cancelled the FCRA registrations of both the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT). They recycle old charges against the RGF and RGCT. This is to defame and divert public attention from issues of day-to-day concern to them."

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Questioning government on its handling of the economy which is "in deep crisis caused by spiralling prices, galloping unemployment and a falling rupee", he said that the "Bharat Jodo Yatra has evoked a huge public response. Clearly people are fed up with the politics of hate and divisiveness".

Ramesh said that the RGF was established in 1991 after the tragic assassination of Rajiv Gandhi who stood for the ideas of 'sadbhavana', both among all Indians and with other nations, inclusive and sustainable development of India using science and technology including IT and telecom, empowerment of women and youth and of local self- government at the panchayat, district, and municipal levels, and relief to those affected by natural disasters, floods, drought, violence, and those with disabilities.

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"The RGF has been working since its inception to promote these ideas through development programs in various parts of India. Lakhs of people, including children, youth, women, and the disabled have benefited from the programs of these Trusts," he said, adding that the RGCT works in northern India with a focus on the poorest regions of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan through development initiatives.

The Trusts have always been purely charitable in nature and comply with all laws and regulations. All statutory requirements of audit, program activity and financial disclosure, and filing of returns have been scrupulously followed every year by them, Ramesh said.

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"The background for the cancellation of the FCRA registration should be obvious to anyone who understands the nature of the present dispensation," he added

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The party said the RGF and RGCT will, of course, be responding to the charges hurled at it and take whatever action it deem appropriate legally.

Meanwhile, the Congress said that it will not be browbeaten or deterred from continuing with the Bharat Jodo Yatra that resumes on Oct 27th after a 3-day break.

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