Hindu group denounces
A right wing Hindu organisation in India has strongly denied allegations
that it misused money raised from charities in the UK.
BBC, February 26, 2004 original
The denial follows allegations by a British campaign group that
activists loyal to the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS) siphoned
off relief money.
An RSS spokesman described the allegations as false and baseless.
The RRS and other groups are accused of being involved or implicated
in violence or hatred against minorities.
The report, released by the group Awaaz - South Asia Watch,
said big donations from members of the public in Britain ended
up in the hands of groups such as the RSS.
An RSS spokesman, Ram Madhav, told the BBC that the report was
full of untruths and was prepared with the sole aim of misguiding
Mr Madhav said the money raised for disaster relief was spent
on reconstructing villages and schools in the earthquake affected
areas the western state of Gujarat and was not siphoned off for
any other activity.
The RSS (National Volunteers Corps) is a body which provides
ideological backing to several hardline Hindu organisations as
well as India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
It aims to turn secular India into a Hindu nation - its critics
say its hardline ideology is based on intolerance towards the
Much of the money in question was raised as part of wider humanitarian
Allegations of this sort have been raised before and are currently
being investigated by the British government body that regulates
Another of the British organisations accused by Awaaz, Sewa
International, said it would be inappropriate to respond to the
report while that investigation was taking place.
However, Sewa International's sister organisation in India,
Sewa Bharati, has also strongly denied that any money it has
received has been used for Hindu nationalist activity.
The release of the Awaaz report has been timed to coincide with
the second anniversary, on Friday, of the widespread sectarian
killings in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002.
More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the riots that
followed the killing of nearly 60 Hindus on board a train, allegedly
by a Muslim mob.
Some estimates, however, have placed the numbers of those killed
at about 2,000.
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