Former Amnesty International gender head Gita Sahgal accuses it of supporting terror groups

Former head of Amnesty International’s gender unit, Gita Sahgal has reportedly slammed the NGO for its continued support to Kashmiri terror groups, while also condemning the sedition charges registered against the India sector.

According to a report by The Times of India, she called on Amnesty and other human rights NGOs "to live up to the standards they demand of others: be transparent, accountable and impartial".

To defend human rights in the future, organisations must be able to look at their own institutional failure, she added.

 Former Amnesty International gender head Gita Sahgal accuses it of supporting terror groups

File image of Gita Sahgal. Twitter/@GitaSahgal

Regarding the sedition case, she said that it was dangerous and designed to shut down organisations like Amnesty.

Sahgal was referring to the recent FIR registered against Amnesty International's India chapter under various IPC sections, including sedition, in connection with the alleged raising of "independence" slogans by "pro-freedom" Kashmiris who had entered into heated arguments with a Kashmiri Pandit leader for hailing Indian Army.

The event called 'Broken Families of Kashmir' was organised at the United Theological College on Monday.

ABVP activists had called the Amnesty event "anti-national", and on Monday had filed a complaint with the police, along with a CD containing video recording of the event.

Sahgal's stint with Amnesty

Sahgal was the head of Amnesty International’s gender unit but was suspended in 2010 after an eight-year association, accusing it of "ideological bankruptcy" over its relations with Islamist terror groups. She also accused the organisation of being misogynist.

Slate reported that Amnesty suspended Sahgal soon after her statement, "To be appearing on platforms with Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender is a gross error of judgment"

She was objecting to Amnesty's dealings with Cage, an Islamist advocacy group headed by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, The Guardian reported.

Begg was arrested in Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan. He was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and then released, according to Slate. He is the moving spirit of an organisation called Cageprisoners. Asim Qureshi, another senior member of the organisation, has also spoken in defense of jihad at rallies sponsored by the extremist group Hizb-ut Tahrir at several occasions.

Cage also had close relations with Mohammad Emwazi, infamously known as “Jihadi John”.

Despite this, Amnesty International includes Begg and his organisation in delegations that petition the British government about human rights.

They released a statement soon after Sahgal’s allegations, saying “Begg speaks powerfully from personal experience about the abuses there.”

Sahgal said that Amnesty has always fought between people promoting jihadis and trying to get them included on research missions and treat them as human rights defenders.

She also referred to Amnesty’s history with Palestine while talking to The Times of India. “It (Amnesty) gives space to Hamas supporters rather than secular and human rights voices from Palestine,” she said.

Amnesty international India in its defense said on Tuesday that none of its employees had shouted any anti-India slogan at the event and the allegations of ABVP were “without substance”.

Sahgal lashed out at Amnesty for this statement, saying that it’s typical of the NGO to claim to be neutral on `the right to self-determination' while giving more space to people who give it political support."

With inputs from PTI.

Updated Date: Aug 17, 2016 12:24:22 IST