Red Cross Orders Probe Into ‘Forced’ Donation Drive in Kashmir

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Srinagar: The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) on Saturday ordered a probe into the alleged forcible donation drive carried out by the Jammu and Kashmir administration across the Kashmir Valley on society’s behalf.

"We have ordered an enquiry into the allegations of forcible collection of donation from people. The state head in Kashmir has been ordered to submit a final report about it,” IRCS Deputy Secretary, N.K Singh told Kashmir Observer on Saturday.

The announcement of probe by ICRS comes a day after Kashmir Observer carried a report titled ‘Admin Faces Flak For ‘Forced’ Red Cross Donations in Kashmir. The report highlighted how civil administration and police have started a massive drive across Kashmir Valley collecting funds from the people for the charity organisation. Revenue officials and cops are seen with receipt books of IRCS on major thoroughfares of Kashmir, including at tourist spots, stopping vehicles on various pretexts and handing them the Red Cross receipts.

"From past few days, we had received several complaints at our Srinagar office. And after Kashmir Observer's report, we have ordered an enquiry and sought details like under whose authorization was the donation approved and under whose capacity was the Red Cross receipt book issued to the police," Singh said.

He said that the Kashmir chapter of Red Cross has been asked to explain why cognizance of alleged forcible donation was not taken by them.

Singh further said that that many receipt books that are currently lying with the Police would have only been given to them by the authorization of the state management committee that includes people from the government and private sectors and head of the state committee of IRCS.

“It's a serious issue. We are expecting enquiry report by next week," he said.

On being asked whether the National headquarters had any communication with the J&K administration, Singh said that if the probe raises some alarming questions, the charity group won't hesitate to contact them.

Meanwhile, reports of police and other government officials collecting donations on behalf of IRCS continued to pour in from several parts of the Valley.

"Even though I was following all the SOP's, I was forced to pay hundred rupees towards the Red Cross near Foreshore road. Under which rule am I being forced to pay," Nasir Naqash, a city resident said on Saturday.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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