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India refuses visas to charity investigators The Guardian, Friday February 27, 2004
British Donations For Gujarat Relief Went To Hindu Extremist Groups:, February 27, 2004
‘ RSS groups pocketed quake aid’
By Vijay Dutt, Hindustan Times, London, February 26, 2004

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Sangh Parivar accused of promoting extremisim in India, February 27, 2004 original

The second anniversary of the Gujarat riots has been marked in the UK by the publication of a report that accuses "saffron" charities of misusing donations from the British public for promoting extremist organisations in India.

The report, titled In Bad Faith ? British Charity and Hindu Extremism, is the work of Awaaz - South Asia Watch, a secular human rights group based in the London suburb of Southall, which has one of the largest Asian communities in the UK. It accuses the UK-based Sewa International of sending 2-million pounds raised for earthquake relief in Gujarat to its Indian counterpart, Sewa Bharati, which gave the money to organisations linked with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

These organisations, says the report, are involved or implicated in serious violence or hate politics in India, and much of the money was spent on schools that promote hatred and fanaticism. Awaaz adds: "Most British donors would be horrified if they knew the nature, history and ideas of the RSS. Individuals raised funds and donated in good faith to Sewa International's Gujarat earthquake appeals, but would not have done so had they known that the organisation raising the money was closely linked to the Fascist-inspired and secretive Indian RSS."

Sewa International is not itself a registered charity, but it is the fund-raising arm of the UK branch of the RSS, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), which is registered. The Charity Commission, which regulates the granting of charitable status, has confirmed that the HSS has been under investigation because of its connection with the RSS, which was previously proscribed by the Indian government. Awaaz has called for charitable status to be withdrawn from the HSS and two linked organisations, The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) UK and the Kalyan Ashram Trust.

Awaaz spokesman Suresh Grover declared: "Sewa International has tried to dupe politicians. donors and the general public. Its main purpose is to fund, expand and glorify hate-driven RSS organisations, several of which have been at the forefront of large scale violence, pogroms or hate campaigns in India. Its claim to be a non-sectarian, non-political, non-religious humanitarian charity is a sham."

Sewa International has denied the report's allegatiions. It says it has never tried to hide its links with the Sangh Parivar nor to fool the public. President Shantilal Mistry is quoted as saying: "The entire sum collected for earthquake relief went towards charitable purposes and not a penny was spent on any hate campaign. (ANI)