US Money for Hindu Extremism
By Ibrahim Sajid Malik, New York and Arif Azad, London
translated by Zulfiqar Ahmad
BBCUrdu.com, December 4, 2002 original
Photo: RSS has been accused of spreading religious violence
According to NGOs and independent political workers, many
relief organizations working in India are using funds collected
in America and Europe to support extremist Hindu parties.
According to a report published by two NGOs associated with
India - South Asia Citizen Web and Subrang Communications
- India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), which is registered
in Maryland, USA, as a tax-exempt organization, gives 80 percent
of its funds to organizations advocating Hindutva ,while only
20 percent is given to actual relief organizations.
The report entitled "Foreign Exchange of Hatred"
has alleged that this organization which collects money for
relief, welfare and development work is not secular; rather,
it fans communalism and extremism and, towards that end, it
has so far provided about 5 million (50 Lakh) dollars.
BOX: "We have arrived at the conclusion that this money
gets into the hands of extremists." Harsh Kapoor
One of the compilers of the report, Harsh Kapoor, told the
BCC Urdu.com that this report is the result of extensive research.
"Our research was spread over three continents. We considered
it necessary to investigate the money collected for relief
work from well intentioned people in the US. We came to the
conclusion that this money is going into the hands of right
wing extremist organizations."
Among those benefiting from IDRF's generosity was the RSS,
and organizations related to it, that have been involved in
However, IDRF has claimed that it is involved in rural development,
social welfare, and the elimination of poverty in cities.
A statement issued by this organization states that it has
no connection with the RSS and such charges against it have
been leveled by left wing sympathizers.
BOX: "We have no connection with the RSS and such charges
have been leveled by left wing sympathizers." IDRF
Over 150 forms of documentary evidence, of which income tax
forms are the most important, were collected to compile the
report. The compilers of the report referred to IDRF's tax
forms to say that the nine organizations supported (by IDRF)
are related to the RSS and that the founder of the IDRF also
has had connections with the RSS.
According to the report, not only had IDRF received $70,000
from Cisco Systems in 1999 (matching funds?), but it has also
been collecting money from American companies in the name
of promoting secular ideology. The companies contributing
to the IDRF include Cisco System, Sun Microsystems, Oracle,
and Hewlett Packard. In 1999 alone, Sun Microsystems gave
$70,000 to the IDRF. It should be noted that a large number
of Indians work at Sun Microsystems.
Political workers have mailed letters along with this report
to ten international companies asking them to stop supporting
Harsh Kapoor says that he is "hopeful that as a result
of our report, a similar movement will start in Britain because
right wing Hindu organizations have a lot of influence in
Britain." "A movement to stop money going from the
US to Extremist groups in India has started in the US, I hope
a similar movement will start in Britain." "Muslim
and Christian extremist organizations are also involved in
similar activities in Britain and Europe."
[there is some formatting error here; what should have been
a box is made part of the text Z.A.]
Since September 11th, the American government has banned
many Muslim charities accused of providing funds to terrorist
The report also states that "documentary evidence shows
that IDRF has provided money to extremist groups in at least
three states. In Gujarat, IDRF provided funds to Vanvasi Kalyan
Ashram. This organization was involved in killing of and attacks
against about 2000 Christians in 1998. The same organization
has been involved in the recent massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.
BOX: "Sewa International is thought to be connected
with extreme right wing organizations in India." Irfan
Commenting on the report, the spokesman for the British Indian
Muslim Federation, Irfan Mustafa, states that he has written
a letter expressing his concern about funding activities of
extremist Hindu organizations. He says that because of this
movement, Lord Patel has resigned from the board of an organization
named Sewa International.
"Sewa International is thought to be related to Indian
right wing extremist organizations and is believed to send
money, collected in foreign countries, to groups promoting
communalism and sectarianism in India. We have received a
reply from the Foreign Office assuring us that serious consideration
will be given to our concerns."