For now I am not going to get into other issues, but would like to get
clarification on the following:
On Thu, Jul 18, 2019 at 6:20 PM Chris Koerner <ckoerner(a)wikimedia.org>
Wikimedia India was first recognized as a chapter in 2011. In 2015, it
experienced difficulties meeting chapter agreement obligations.
Working with the Affiliations Committee and the Foundation, the
chapter developed a plan of action and returned to good standing by
2017. However, between 2017 and 2019
*the chapter was unable to secure a license to act as a fiduciary
organization, and is not currently legally registered as a charity in India
to accept funding from the Foundation*. The Foundation and Affiliations
Committee both hope that
this licensing and registration can be secured, and that the chapter
will again be eligible for recognition.
AFAIK, the Wikimedia Chapter (Wikimedia India) *is* registered as a
charitable society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act.
Therefore, it *is* a fiduciary organization acting in public interest. I
would like to hear a clarification on your claims above.
Further, my understanding is that the Chapter has been unable to
renew/secure its permissions under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation)
Act, which prevents it from receiving funds from foreign sources, including
the Foundation. This is not a situation unique to Wikimedia India, as more
than 20,000 NGOs nationally faced cancellations of their licenses last year
due to reasons that have largely to do with politics rather than compliance
If the inability of Wikimedia india to secure these permissions is one of
the primary reasons for de-recognition, as a founding member of Wikimedia
India and as someone who is largely an external observer, it appears to me
that the Foundation is choosing to punish the chapter for not having the
political clout to retain its license. For most of its existence, the
Wikimedia Chapter has been a volunteer-run body with limited expertise in
public policy. Can you please clarify whether the Foundation has extended
support to the Chapter in form of, for example, contracting a government
relations specialists to help renew/secure their FCRA license?
Looking forward to hearing from you.