THE CAMPAIGN TO STOP FUNDING HATE
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Project Saffron Dollar:
Petition to Stop Corporate Sponsorship of IDRF



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(Petition closed! CSFH thanks all respondents for supporting this effort!)

To, Donation Portals and Corporations that Support IDRF

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, united under the banner of The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, are writing to inform you that the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), which uses your services to raise money for its activities, is deeply involved in the propagation of sectarian hate and violence in India. We believe that the money that IDRF collects and generates through your organization has been used to fund an intolerant and violent Hindu Supremacist movement (Hindutva) that undermines the constitutionally guaranteed rights of minorities in India to equal citizenship and a life free of persecution.

We are a group of concerned individuals committed to stop the flow of hate money into India. We are committed to an India that is open, tolerant and democratic, and we wish to ensure that groups that victimize minority communities in India do not misuse the donation policies of U.S. businesses.

We believe that IDRF misleads well-meaning individual donors and institutions into funding organizations that foster ethnic hatred. We are deeply disturbed at the support IDRF receives from your institution and urge you to terminate this relationship.

Our conclusions regarding the Hindutva movement, and IDRF's close links to it are drawn from a recently released report 'The Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva.' We submit the following summary of our concerns in order to provide you the information you need to make a decision:

1. Hindutva:

a. Hindutva is a violent, sectarian movement based upon the premise of Hindu supremacy. Its core ideological organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteers Corps, abbreviated as the RSS), was started in 1925 and has drawn its inspiration and structure from both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (see Sections 2.1, 2.2 and Appendix A of the attached report).

b. The RSS functions through a network of organizations and fronts that are together called the Sangh Parivar (the Sangh Family). The Sangh Parivar operates both in India and abroad, particularly in the U.S. and the U.K. (see Sections 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 of the report).

c. The Hindutva movement relies upon deliberate and systematic use of violence to consolidate its power base and to fracture the society along religious lines. It was responsible for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence. Since then, Hindutva groups have continually incited hate and communal violence in India. Over the last decade, they have killed more than 5000 people, belonging primarily to religious minorities. In recent years they have carried out a campaign of murder and intimidation against the Christian community in India (1999-2000) and orchestrated the mass murder of more than 2000 people, mostly Muslims, in the Indian state of Gujarat (February to August 2002). Many national and international human rights commissions and groups have charged the Hindutva movement with carrying out systematic pogroms and hate campaigns (see Section 2.6 of the report).

2. IDRF's Links to Hindutva:

a. An examination of the institutional links and the overlap of personnel between IDRF and the Sangh Parivar lead us to believe that IDRF serves as a major conduit for the flow of funds from the U.S. to the Hindutva movement in India (see Section 3 of the report).

b. IDRF has publicly claimed that it has no connection to Hindutva or the Sangh Parivar in India. Yet, a study of its records shows that it has consistently supported organizations aligned with the Hindutva movement, channeling over 80% of all funds at its discretion to them (see Section 4.1 of the report).

c. Despite its name, the India Development and Relief Fund does little on issues of development in India; instead, it primarily funds activities and organizations that support sectarian divisions and hatred. Only a fifth of the funds IDRF sends to India go for disaster relief and welfare activities, and there is documentation to support that the disbursement of even these amounts is sectarian (see Sections 4.2 and 4.3 of the report).

d. Several so-called "sister organizations" of IDRF in India which have received large amounts of money from the IDRF have been linked to violence against minorities. Prominent among these is Sewa Bharati, an organization that has had its license cancelled in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh for attempting to ignite sectarian violence. Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, another organization directly funded by IDRF, has also been linked to violence in tribal areas (see Section 4.4 of the report).

Given the above, we urge you to close the IDRF account until IDRF can demonstrate that it has severed all connections with the Hindutva movement. Such action on your part will send the message that your organization will not associate itself with hate crimes or religious extremism.

We are hopeful that you will join us in our commitment to a life free from persecution for all peoples of the world.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned