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British Donations For Gujarat Relief Went To Hindu Extremist Groups: Report, February 27, 2004
RSS dismisses as 'false' charges of misuse of funds Hindustan Times, February 27, 2004
British funds for quake victims diverted to Hindu hardliners: rights group Terra Daily, February 26, 2004

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Charity-fund money going to Hindu conservatives

The News, 27 February, 2004 original

LONDON: Money raised in Britain to help earthquake victims in India is going instead into the coffers of a conservative Hindu group, a British-based South Asian human rights group said on Thursday.

Awaaz-South Asia Watch said in a report that Sewa International had raised two million pounds (3.7 million dollars) after the Gujarat earthquake two years ago.

But it said Sewa International did not disclose the fact that it was the fundraising arm of a Leicester-based conservative Hindu group, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), or reveal its links with India’s right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which regards the HSS as its British offshoot.

"All two million pounds raised from the British public by Sewa International for Gujarat earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation from 2001 was for a major RSS affiliate, Sewa Bharati," the report said. "Sewa Bharati is dedicated to creating an exclusive Hindu nation," it said. "Sewa Bharatis reconstruction work was directly related to furthering the RSSs political agenda, including through the organisation of RSS cells," the report added.

It cited the case of one earthquake-stricken Gujarati village, Chapredi, where a Hindu temple was reconstructed with a plaque ‘glorifying the RSS’ while mosques and churches that had been destroyed were apparently not rebuilt.

Awaaz-South Asia Watch urged the British authorities to withdraw charity status from HSS and associated charities. "Public sector funding and political patronage of these organisations should end," it insisted.

Some 25,000 people were killed when Gujarat was hit by a massive earthquake in January 2001. The following year, some 2,000 died (mostly Muslims) when the state was plunged into by India’s worst communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in a decade.