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Quake, cyclone funds sponsored Guj violence: UK report The Times of India, 26, 2004
RSS raising money in Britain under false pretences: report
Indo-Asian News Service, February 26, 2004
‘RSS groups pocketed quake aid’ By Vijay Dutt, Hindustan Times, London, 26 February

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India refuses visas to charity investigators

Sam Jones

The Guardian, Friday February 27, 2004 original

The Indian government has refused to grant travel visas to Charity
Commission investigators examining a UK-based Hindu charity, the Guardian
has learned.

The commission began looking into complaints about Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
(HSS) and its finances in November 2002.

HSS, a registered charity that operates from Leicester, aims to "organise
the entire Hindu society and to lead it to all round glory of Hindu Dharma
and Hindu culture".

The commission became interested after allegations surfaced that money
raised was not being used for welfare work but to fuel communal violence.

A report yesterday by Awaaz, a British-based group campaigning against
religious fundamentalism, alleged that the HSS's fundraising arm, Sewa
International, has used money collected in the UK for Indian earthquake
victims to fund a Hindu extremist group. It claims Sewa International sent
?2m collected for victims of the earthquake in Gujarat state in 2001 to its
Indian counterpart, Sewa Bharati.

Awaaz says that Sewa Bharati is a front for the National Volunteer Corps
(RSS) which supports India's ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata party.

Last July, the Charity Commission received a letter from the Indian high
commission rejecting its request for visas. No reason was given. "We have
been in touch with the Indian government to request that they reconsider,"
said Rebecca Drake of the commission.

Dhiraj Shah, a HSS spokesman, said the charity had no links with the RSS and
had never given them "a single penny". All the two groups had in common were
religious and philosophical beliefs.

He said Sewa International raised funds for humanitarian projects, and
described the allegations as "false, malicious and politically motivated".