|British Charity Funding Religious Extremism: New Report backs “Stop Funding Hate” Findings: An investigative report says that a charity in the United Kingdom has channeled millions of pounds raised from the British Public to organizations affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India...
Date/Time: Thursday February 26 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
British Charity Funding Religious Extremism: New Report backs “Stop Funding Hate” Findings
An investigative report says that a charity in the United Kingdom has channeled millions of pounds raised from the British Public to organizations affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India – the same organizations that are deeply implicated in the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. Prepared by Awaaz – South Asia Watch Ltd., a London-based secular network, the report is titled “In Bad Faith? British Charity and Hindu Extremism.” The report points out that organizations such as Sewa International, the fund raising arm of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) in the U.K, have been raising funds in the name of charity but siphoning the money to RSS front organizations in India.
In November 2002, the U.S. based group, the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH), had focused attention on a report, “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” (FxH), that showed that a Maryland based charity, the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), was a front for the RSS and was raising money in the U.S. to send to organizations that were implicated in violence against religious minorities (mainly Muslims and Christians) in India.
Welcoming the Awaaz initiative, a spokesperson for CSFH stated that “the British report corroborates the assertion of the FxH report that front organizations raise money in the Indian diasporic communities, ostensibly for the purposes of development and education, but channel these funds towards political agendas that are inimical to a tolerant, secular and plural society.”
An organization that advocates Hindu supremacy and repression of minorities, the RSS has been repeatedly indicted by Indian and international human rights organizations for initiating large-scale violence and hatred against minority groups.
The bulk of the British funds were collected in the name of charity, avowedly for humanitarian relief after the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, and the Orissa cyclone in 1999. The Awaaz report states that the money was then used to expand the political base of the RSS with strategic reconstruction projects and to foster its network organizations, including the Sewa Bharati and the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. The report also points out that a large amount of the money raised by Sewa International is used for promoting projects such as the Ekal Vidyalayas which are run by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an organization that promotes a vicious and violent sectarian agenda.
The British report is yet another instance of thorough documentation of the foreign funding of the RSS. With the publication of “In Bad Faith” it is now clear that the RSS has received significant sums of money in the name of development and relief from both the UK and the US. In a press release, Awaaz UK said that “Sewa International is the UK equivalent of the American charity, the India Development and Relief Fund; both organisations work towards the same purpose – to fund, promote and glorify extremist RSS fronts in India.”