City charity refutes
quake fund claims
Coventry Observer, March 4, 2004 original
THOUSANDS of pounds donated to charity by Coventrians have been
used to fund Hindu extremists in India, a new report claimed
Sewa International, the UK branch of right wing organisation
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has an office in Foleshill
Road which raised over £250,000 in 2001 to provide humanitarian
aid for victims of 2001’s Gujarat earthquake.
But a report titled ‘In Bad Faith? British Charity and
Hindu Extremism’ was submitted to the House of Lords by
human rights watchdog Awaaz this week which claimed the bulk
of the millions of pounds raised had been given to the RSS to
fund its right wing activities.
The creed of the RSS is to turn India into a Hindu nation.
The organisation runs schools to promote its views and has also
been linked to violent campaigns against some sections of Indian
Coventry City Council handed Sewa International a £10,000
cheque towards the Gujarat appeal, while schools in the city
also raised large sums of money and collections were made from
city centre shoppers.
The city council declined to comment on the content of the report
The Charity Commission is already conducting an investigation
into Sewa International and connected organisations but has had
fact finding missions to India blocked by the rejection of visa
A Commission spokesman said: “We take very seriously the
allegations raised in the Awaaz report, and we will thoroughly
examine the contents of the recommendations contained within
Sewa International refuted the claims this week, branding the
report “false, malicious and politically motivated.”
The organisation said it had a policy to fund only projects
run by registered and reputable organisations.