THE CAMPAIGN TO STOP FUNDING HATE
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it........... Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position........... First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. - Mahatma Gandhi

 

 



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PROJECT SAFFRON DOLLAR
Last Updated 12/08/02


Q 1. Who is involved in the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate? Where do your funds come from?

A. We are a diverse group of people of Indian origin living and working in India, United States, and Europe. We found each other - via the internet and through personal contacts - in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots earlier this year. Among us there are professionals, teachers and students belonging to various faiths and political persuasions. We contribute personal time and money to this work and do not accept any institutional funding from anywhere. We are bound by one common goal: an India without hatred, where people are not persecuted because of their faith or political beliefs.

Q 2. Are you opposed to religion ? Are you opposed to Hinduism in particular?

A. No, we are not opposed to religion. We abide by the vision of the authors of Indian Constitution, who envisaged an India where all religions will be treated equally and all citizens are free to practice any religion of their choice without fear of persecution. Yes, we are opposed to Hindutva and Sangh Parivar. Hindutva is different from Hinduism. Most followers of Hinduism, like the followers of any other religion are peaceful, non-violent and tolerant. Hindutva is a political ideology. It advocates use of violence, confuses nationality with culture and religion, is supremacist and exclusionary. It believes that only people who support it should have first class citizenship in India. All others should be second class citizens. Nazism in Germany under Hitler said the same thing. We all know what happened when Nazism was allowed to grow. Sangh Parivar is a loose network of organizations led by the RSS whose founders were admirers of Adolf Hitler.

Q 3. Why don't you criticize other religious groups who send money to India?

A. First of all, IDRF is not sending money to a religious group. It is sending it to the Sangh Parivar. We are not opposed to religious groups sending money to India, per se. However, the money that IDRF sends encourages divisiveness and violence. We do condemn all acts of hate and violence - regardless of religion or ideology. The reason for our focus on Sangh Parivar is that we are committed to an India that is democratic, secular and embodies equal respect to all religions.

Q 4. Is IDRF breaking the law in supporting Hindutva groups? If missionaries can raise money for Christianity, Muslims can raise money for Islam, why can Hindu organizations not do the same?

A. IDRF is misrepresenting itself as a non sectarian non political organization. But 80 per cent of the money raised by IDRF goes to organizations belonging to the Sangh Parivar, a loose network of Hindutva organizations. It raised $ 3.8 million last year from non-resident Indians and in matching grants from corporate houses. The donors are told that the charity will go towards socio-economic development in India. In reality, it goes to support the activists trained by the Sangh Parivar employed in various schools, relief centers etc. IDRF should openly declare that it is a part of Hindutva ideology. All evidence shows that it is.

Q 5. Does not IDRF support developmental projects in India? Their records show that they support education, tribal welfare, healthcare and women and children. Is that all lies ?

A. The support that IDRF offers to educational institutions and tribal welfare programs is very selective and geared towards promoting a specific ideology. Almost all of the large scale money transfers relating to the Orissa Cyclone and the Bhuj earthquake have been to Sangh Parivar organizations in India. Indeed, it has been documented that money raised for these humanitarian causes was used in a partisan, sectarian manner, to benefit only the majority community (See Appendix E of the report, A Foreign Exchange of Hate). Legally, the IDRF is entitled to donate to any organization of its choice. The organizations chosen by IDRF however belong to an ideological set that openly declares that non Hindus ought to be deemed second class citizens in India.

According to the public records, the majority of instances where money was sent to truly non-sectarian NGOs was when donors specifically designated such organizations as the recipients. Even here, it is important to note that the IDRF takes a ten percent cut of all such donations and only accepts such donations if they are over one thousand dollars. The ten percent 'fee' is generally sent to Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram or other RSS/VHP projects in India, who turn around and use it to spread sectarian hatred as has been shown elsewhere.(Part 4 of the report, A Foreign Exchange of Hate).

Q 6. What is wrong with IDRF being part of Hindutva ideology, especially if they are doing relief and rehabilitation work and within legal framework ?

A. Please note that we are not saying that IDRF is directly funding the acquisition of weapons. We are saying that IDRF offers a cover of respectability for funding organizations engaged in hate campaigns. Its volunteers are all trained political activists of the Sangh Parivar, and the Sangh creates the conditions in which communal violence easily springs up. The Rashtriya Swayamsevk Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), key organizations in the Hindutva movement, are shadowy organizations which have been banned several times in India for fomenting communal violence. VHP and RSS workers have been implicated in murderous activities. Numerous judicial inquiries have noted the role of RSS in creating conditions for communal riots. Now, as a matter of strategy, RSS and VHP operate through front organizations which are legally registered and function as charities. RSS itself has no legal status. It maintains no membership rolls. It has no internal democracy and its accounts are never audited publicly.

Q 7. But Hindutva organizations claim that it is the missionaries and madarsas which initiate the problem. Is this not true ?

A. It is mostly not true. There may be missions which convert. There may be madarsas where hatred is taught. But there is a difference. Christian missions in India have also done a lot of educational and medical service. Similarly there are many Hindu religious missions which do not preach communalism for instance, the Ramakrishna Missions). India has a tradition of social work inspired by religion. Mahatma Gandhi is a great example of how one can learn good things from all religions. The Sangh Parivar is however different. Their social work is always motivated by a program of communal politics.

Q 8. How exactly is IDRF misleading donors? Doesn't it tell contributors through its web-site where the money is going?

A. Yes, IDRF does put the list of the recipients of its fund on its web-site. However, merely revealing the identities of the receiving organizations does not inform people about the true nature of their activities. As the report "A Foreign Exchange of Hate" shows, an overwhelming number of organizations receiving IDRF funding are Sangh fronts. It took meticulous research to establish this connection. Most ordinary donors take IDRF's contention at face value and give their money thinking that they are funding welfare projects for the poor. They are therefore not aware of the fact that their money is distributed to support Hindutva's communal politics. IDRF knows that if it were upfront about its connection to the Sangh, many decent and fair-minded contributors would refuse to give it any money. That is why even though evidence shows overwhelmingly that IDRF is part of the sangh parivar, it continues to claim that it does not have anything to do with the Sangh Parivar. We are not objecting to people giving their money to a cause of their choosing, however reprehensible that may be. We are concerned that IDRF is collecting this money under false pretences.

Q 9. How exactly is IDRF misleading corporations?

A. IDRF states that it does not subscribe to any religious, political, or sectarian agendas. Furthermore, it claims that it does not discriminate against any religion, sect, or race in either the collection or distribution of funds. The facts belie this contention. As the report, A Foreign Exchange of Hate demonstrates clearly, IDRF does operate in a sectarian fashion and does send money almost exclusively to organizations that are not only explicitly religious, but also subscribe to a divisive ideology that seeks to construct India as a monotheistic and intolerant state.

Most corporations and donation portals have criteria and guidelines that make religious and political organizations ineligible for receiving matching donations. IDRF has gone to great lengths to conceal its sectarian and discriminatory agenda and has posed as a development and relief organization in order to qualify for such grants. This is deceptive and should give corporations enough reason to dissociate themselves from IDRF.

It should be also noted here that despite repeated requests, the IDRF has refused to set up funds for sectarian violence in India when Muslims or Christians are the primary victims. This is especially striking when one realizes that IDRF has made a lot of noise and collected funds for Hindu victims of communal carnage in other countries, but never for Muslim victims in India.

 


 

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