EARTHQUAKE AID CHARITY
ACCUSED OF SUPPORTING EXTREMISTS
By Rajiv Popat
ITV.com, Thursday, February 26, 2004 original
A human rights group has accused a Leicester based charity of
using some of its funds to support extremists groups in India.
Sewa International collected more than two million pounds to rebuild
the worst affected areas of Gujarat following the earthquake. Rajiv
The earthquake in Gujarat three years ago left 13,000 people dead
and many more were homeless after 8000 towns and villages were
completely flattened. It was an anxious time for Gujaratis here
in the east Midlands. Many had friends and relatives in the state.
The Leicester based organisation Sewa International raised more
than 2 million pounds to help victims of the quake. But the human
rights group South Asia Watch says some of the money was used to
help extremists groups in India.
We refute these claims and we are purely a charity doing humanitarian
and social work, rather than having any political involvem
SEWA Chairman Shantibhai Mistry said. "We refute these claims
and we are purely a charity doing humanitarian and social work,
rather than having any political involvement." Last month,
Sewa International took people who had raised funds to Gujarat
to see how the money is helping to rebuild parts of the state.
South Asia Watch says some of the funds were used to support a
campaign of hatred against Muslims and Christians in India. These
are claims strongly denied by Sewa which is currently awaiting
the outcome of an investigation by the Charities Commission.