As many as 50 former employees of Ahmedabad-based Navsarjan Trust have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the trust. The trust’s FCRA licence was cancelled by the Union Home Ministry in December last year on the ground that it was involved in “undesirable” activities that created wedge among communities. The employees having signed the petition are among the 80 employees of the trust who were dropped from the job due to termination of FCRA license. The entire income of the trust was through FCRA only. One of the trustees said that the employees were “relieved”’ as the trust could no longer pay their salaries and maintain them.

All the 50 former employees are from from the Dalit community. They have formed “Navsarjan Bachao Samiti”’ under the leadership of Suresh Jadav, one of the “relieved”’ employees.

The letter has rejected the allegations that Navsarjan was involved in any “undesirable” activities aimed at creating differences among “religious, racial, social, linguistic, regional groups, castes or communities”.

“Navsarjan Trust has no hidden agenda,” the letter said. “To the contrary, Navsarjan Trust has been a critical force for the past 27 years to uplift the Dalit community and has been a dedicated advocate for Dalit rights as provided in the Indian Constitution.”

Stressing that Navsarjan Trust fulfills all criteria required for the FCRA registration, the letter said: “The decision to cancel the FCRA registration is nothing more than an effort to bully the organisation into silence, motivated by anti-Dalit agenda, and a political vendetta against Dalit human right activists.”

The letter pointed out that the Trust filed as many as 16 petitions in the Gujarat High Court to advance the rights of Dalits and tribals. “It was only after the HC issued an order on a petition of the Navsarjan Trust that the state government set up Safai Kamdar Corporation with an allocation of Rs 125 crore,” the letter informed.

“On another petition of Navsarjan Trust, the state government awarded around 6,000 acres of land to economically-disadvantaged Dalit people who had been unable to obtain agricultural land,” said the letter.

Among other achievements of the trust, the letter pointed out that it was on a petition by the Navsarjan Trust that the Abolition of Manual Scavenging Act was implemented for the first time in Gujarat on directions of the HC and was latter adopted in almost all the states, and Parliament also amended the Act subsequently.

It pointed out that the Trust created educational awareness among the Dalits and the poor in by running schools at Sami in Patan, Rayka in Ahmedabad, and Katariya in Surendranagar.

“Through its Dalit Shakti Kendra near Sanand, the Navsarjan provided self-employment training to around 9,500 students, in photography, videography, tailoring, carpentry, fabrication, driving and basic computer skills,” said the letter.