Hindu groups raising funds for violence: UK group

Times of India, PTI, Tuesday, March 4, 2003 original

LONDON: Supporters of South Asia Solidarity, a group campaigning against the "massacre in Gujarat" a year ago, held a candlelight vigil outside the Charity Commission here on Monday evening demanding stripping of charity status given to Sewa International and the Hindu SwayamSevak Sangh (HSS).

The group said "Hindu supremacist organisations like Sewa International, the HSS which is the international wing of the RSS, and the VHP UK enjoy the status of registered charities in UK, enabling them to raise funds that go into spreading hatred and violence against minorities in India."

In a memorandum submitted to the Commission, the group claimed "not a single member of Gujarat's BJP government which collaborated in, and sometimes orchestrated, these attacks, or of the allied killer gangs of the VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal, was brought to justice despite calls to do so from all over India."

"Instead in an election held barely 10 months after these genocidal attacks the same government has been returned to power."

In Britain, it said, a network of organisations belonging to Sangh Parivar - the VHP, HSS and others - stand accused of diverting funds collected in the name of welfare to wage a campaign of hatred and violence against minority communities in India.

"At the same time, through branches all over Britain, these organisations are instigating communal conflict among the Asian communities in this country, a process which has been facilitated and intensified by the policies of the British state."

A press release issued by the group claimed that the biggest Indian charity Sewa International increased its gross income from 748,355 pounds in 2000 to 2,175,971 pounds this year and the HSS, a sister charity under whose name it is registered, were exposed in a Channel 4 television news report on December 12.

"We urge you to immediately withdraw the charity status of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, of Sewa International which fundraises using the HSS's charity registration number, and of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, UK," the appeal said.

"Extensive evidence collected by independent human rights organisations as well as the British High Commission in India and the international media has confirmed that the massacres in Gujarat were planned and carried out by a network of Hindu supremacist organisations, the VHP, RSS and others."

"These groups have subsequently stated their intention of repeating the Gujarat 'experiment' elsewhere in India."

In Britain branches of the same organisations were diverting funds collected in the name of welfare to this ongoing campaign of hatred and violence against minority communities in India, South Asia Solidarity said.