RSS denies allegations
By Our Special Correspondent
The Hindu, February 27, 2004 original
NEW DELHI, FEB. 27 . The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh today rejected
all allegations of misuse of about £2 million (about Rs.
15 crores) it had collected in Britain for relief work in Gujarat
following the devastating earthquake in Bhuj three years ago.
Rejecting as "false and wild" the report of Awaaz: South
Asia Watch, which was recently released in Britain, and reported
in the Indian press, the RSS spokesperson, Ram Madhav, said that
in fact the Sewa International, an RSS affiliate, had used the
money to reconstruct two villages in quake-hit Saurashtra. Four
other villages were re-built with some of the money coming from
the Sewa International and eight others with funds from Sewa Bharati
and contributions other than the money collected abroad.
Mr. Madhav said the Awaaz report was "scandalous" and
the RSS could consider taking legal action. "It seems to be
part of a sinister conspiracy," he said, questioning the locus
standi of Awaaz. The Sewa Bharati was a registered organisation
in several States, including Gujarat. "We get funds from abroad
as we are registered with the Fund Contributions Regulatory Act," which
controlled donations from abroad.
Conceding that the RSS had many a time protested against foreign
funding of educational institutions run by Christian missionaries,
Mr. Madhav said "it was because we protested against misuse
of those funds for religious conversion related activities." He
denied that Sewa Bharati or Sewa International funds had been used
to promote sectarian violence in tribal areas where these organisations
had opened schools.
Mr. Madhav strongly criticised a U.S. State Department report
on human rights which had described Indian democracy as "flawed" and
alleged that the Government run by the BJP was not providing security
and justice to Muslims and Christians. "We strongly condemn
this tendency of the U.S. to behave like a globo-cop (global policeman)
and we treat this as direct interference in the internal matters