Kerala-based NGO the Relief and Charitable Foundation of India (RCFI) is under the scanner of security agencies for funding the construction of three mosques in Punjab’s Faridkot district.
All three mosques, which were constructed between 2015-17, are within 40-70 km from the Pakistan border. The suspicion was raised as RCFI has no unit in Punjab.
The bill for the construction of mosques, amounting to 70 crore rupees, was paid by two Baramulla (Jammu & Kashmir) based residents, who in turn received the money from the RCFI.
A report by the Ministry of Home Affairs said the RCFI received 70 crore rupees for the construction of mosques from abroad, which was diverted to Punjab via Baramulla. The MHA barred the NGO from receiving foreign funds in August last year.
The Punjab Police had also red-flagged the construction of new mosques in areas close to Pakistan border.
The report by the security agencies suggested that there are more than 200 mosques in the border districts of Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Pathankot. Many of these mosques were built recently. These districts being border districts, security agencies got more suspicious of the sudden rise in the number of mosques.
Kerala-based RCFI does not mention construction of mosques in its mandate. The RCFI’s website says “The genesis of the RCFI is to improve the quality of life for the most marginalised communities. The organisation has directly reached almost 2.35 million people in 24 states with the support of national and international funding agencies and individual private donors. It works in diverse fields from water and sanitation to health, sustainable measures to support livelihood and disaster risk reduction and response, cultural restoration to school improvement, and family food security to individual special care programme.”
In January this year, about 6000 organisations had lost their FCRA licence which is mandatory to receive foreign funding.
Initially, the FCRA registration is valid for five-year period and can be renewed if the record of previous five years is in order. First enacted in 1976, it was amended in 2010. The FCRA provisions were enacted to ensure there was no foreign interference in the political matters of the country.
On January 2, 2016, four Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, disguised as army personnel, had attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot. The security operation, to clear the base, continued till January 5.