US Christian bodies want RSS funds issue probed

By S Rajagopalan, Hindustan Times, November 22, 2002

Washington - Indian Christian organisations in the US are up in arms against an
Indian-American charity's reported diversion of funds to 'Sangh Parivar'
affiliates for carrying out their "hate campaign" against minorities.
The Federation of Indian American Christian Organisations of Northern America
(FIACONA) has demanded a probe by the US Congress into the matter.
It has also asked the Internal Revenue Service to blacklist the charity in
question, India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), and withdraw its tax
exemption status.

RSS sources here, however, sought to refute the charges of misuse of funds
and asserted that the allegations were being made on behalf of people who
were losing out in the race for conversion of Hindus in India.

Following the release of a report in India by a group of Indian Americans
from San Francisco, FIACONA leader PD John on Friday drew the White House's
attention to the controversy. According to him, more research is underway "to
unearth other RSS affiliated organizations that raise money through business
corporations and other foundations in the US".

Countering the allegations, Shekhar Tiwari, a leading light of the 'Sangh
Parivar' here, commented: "These charges are totally false and motivated.
They are coming from Christian conversion outfits like World Vision, Southern
Baptist and Seventh Day Adventist, who are very active in India."

The IDRF has been founded by acolytes of the Sangh Parivar here---a fact that
Tiwari admits. No functionary of IDRF was immediately available for comment,
but Tiwari contended that the fund made disbursements "regardless of religion
or region".

While the report has spoken of huge funds mobilised from top US business
corporations like Cisco, Sun Computers, Oracle and Hewlett Packard, Tiwari
claimed that IDRF does not collect money from any corporation.

"The collection are made only from individuals, primarily NRIs, who may be
working anywhere."

The report, however, said that corporations like Cisco have made matching
contributions to the IDRF kitty, whose collections have mostly gone to a host
of Sangh Parivar affiliates in India.