New storm over city
By Fionnuala Burke
Sunday Mercury, Feb 29 2004 original
A Midland charity has come under fresh attack for its alleged
links with neo-Nazi style Hindu extremists.
A new report launched at the House of Lords has accused Sewa International,
based in Leicester, of funnelling cash raised for Indian earthquake
victims to anti-Muslim extremists Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The violent and secretive RSS organisation was blamed for the
rioting in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 which resulted in
the deaths of nearly 2,000 muslims.
Sewa International raised £2 million from the British public
to help the 2001 Gujarati earthquake victims.
But Awaaz, which campaigns against religious fundamentalism, said
its investigations have shown that the cash was used to fund the
militant RSS instead.
Cash was filtered through to the fanatics through Sewa International’s
Indian counterpart Sewa Bharati, the report claims.
Awaaz, made up of South Asian academics, lawyers and human rights
campaigners, has claimed that Sewa Bharati is actually a front
for the RSS.
The extremists are known supporters of India’s ruling nationalist
Bharatiya Janata party.
The Charity Commission is now investigating Sewa International,
which is registered under the name Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS).
But the Indian Government has refused to grant travel visas to
Labour Lord Adam Patel, who resigned as patron of the charity
after the Sunday Mercury first exposed the charity in 2002, has
backed the report.
“Sewa International has cheated me and cheated the residents
of the UK,” he said.
“The organisation has been raising funds in the name of
charity and giving them to extremist organisations that preach
hatred against Muslims and Christians.
“The report demonstrates that Sewa International sent £2
million raised in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Gujaratin
2001, to its Indian counterpart Sewa Bharati.
“This organisation is a front to the RSS, which has been
involved in large-scale violence or hate politics in India.
“Thousands of Indians have died over the past fifteen years
as a result of religiously-motivated violence.
“Much of the money sent by Sewa International was spent
on schools that promote hatred and fanaticism.”
The British Houses of Parliament are set to discuss the report.
Jeremy Corbyn, MP, and Vice Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary
Committee on Human Rights said: “I am sure we will all be
asking questions about this in the Lords and Commons.
“No British organisation should be allowed in the name of
charity to support extremists who have perpetrated this terrible
A spokesman for AWAZ said: “Sewa International and the HSS
cannot continue to hide behind blanket denials, as they did after
a previous report linked them to the violence of in Gujurat in
“Sewa International does not represent Hindu communities
or Hinduism. They represent a political cult whose founders and
early leaders were admirers of Mussolini and Hitler.”
Sewa International claims to “organise the entire Hindu
society and to lead it to all round glory of Hindu Dharma and Hindu
Representatives from the group have denied the report’s
allegations in a statement published on their website.