Date: 07 Jun 2008


In order to end the institutional defects that foster impunity in Punjab and
elsewhere in the country, the government should take new legal and practical
steps, including the establishment of a commission of inquiry, a special
prosecutor's office, and an extensive reparations program.

The 123-page report, "Protecting the Killers: A Policy of Impunity in
Punjab, India <>," examines the
challenges faced by victims and their relatives in pursuing legal avenues
for accountability for the human rights abuses perpetrated during the
government's counterinsurgency campaign. The report describes the impunity
enjoyed by officials responsible for violations and the near total failure
of India's judicial and state institutions, from the National Human Rights
Commission to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to provide justice
for victims' families.

We write to you about the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA),
which the Indian parliament passed in 1976 during a state of emergency, and
a proposed new bill, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Bill, 2006
(FCRB), which your government introduced to the Rajya Sabha in December
2006. The new bill was referred to the parliamentary standing committee and
is presently awaiting cabinet approval before being placed for enactment. If
adopted, it will replace the FCRA.

Initially, the primary purpose of the FCRA was to prohibit political
parties, politicians, and election candidates from accepting foreign
material and financial support in order to ensure that Indian elections were
not affected by foreign interests. However, provisions were also included
which made it compulsory for associations considered to be of a "political
nature" to obtain prior permission from the government before accepting any
foreign contributions.

Through an amendment in 1985, the Act's emphasis on nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) increased. Organizations having a "definite cultural,
economic, educational, religious or social programme" have also been
required to either register themselves with the government or receive its
prior permission in order to accept foreign donations and contributions.