Project Saffron Dollar
by Ra Ravishankar
Indymedia.org, December 3, 2002 original
Post 9/11, Hindu fanaticism is more dangerous (than
Islamic fanaticism) in the US, and so it makes sense to
selectively pick on Hindutva.
Project Saffron Dollar
The Campaign to
Stop Funding Hate has ruffled quite a few feathers, and
understandably so. Since IDRF's links with the Sangh Parivar
have been laid bare, they don't bear repetition. Given this,
there still arises the question - Why only pick on Hindu fanaticism?
I will try answer this in what follows.
Religious fanaticism has come to be identified with Islam,
courtesy bin Laden. In the aftermath of the WTC attacks, the
U.S President issued an executive
order on terrorist financing, "blocking property
and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten
to commit, or support terrorism", and designated 27 individuals
and organizations - all of them Muslim - as engaged in terrorism.
Incidentally, this included Harkat ul-Mujahideen (HuM), a
terrorist organization operating from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
In late October, HuM, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lakshar-e-Toiba
(LeT) were designated as Foreign
Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). Shortly after its suicide
attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative assembly, JeM's
assets were frozen by the U.S State Department. LeT met with
the same fate after the Indian Government accused it, along
with JeM, of involvement in the suicide attack on the Indian
Parliament. Also caught unawares in the dragnet was Ummah
Tameer-e-Nau (UTN), which, besides being a charity engaged
in relief work in Afghanistan, is also an Al Qaeda collaborator
and a suspect in eight attacks in Kashmir in August which
killed about 100 people. Terrorism under the garb of charity
seems to be the norm, and this also applies to JeM and LeT.
As things stand now, the principal (in the Indian context)
Islamic terrorist groups have been outlawed, and their assets
frozen, in the U.S, U.K and India. What about their Hindu
brethren who have been indicted by one and all, most recently
Citizens Tribunal? The Indian Government can't, for obvious
reasons, be expected to act against the Saffron Warriors.
This being the case, someone else had to shoulder the responsibility
of exposing their nefarious activities, which is what The
Campaign to Stop Funding Hate did. Their report, Foreign
Exchange of Hate, is an irrefutable expose of IDRF, a
charity very much on the lines of UTN.
This is not all, however. While a majority of Hindutva organizations
in the U.S masquerade as charities, they are not all that
averse to revealing their virulent self. One of the most recent
such instances was Sadhvi Rithambara's recent visit to the
U.S. Infamous for her role in the demolition of the Babri
Masjid, where a very cunning juxtaposition of encouragement
(in the form of incendiary slogans like 'Ek dhakka aur dho,
Babri Masjid thod dho [Give one more push, break down Babri
Masjid]') and castigation (of the less forthcoming Swayamsevaks
for their impotence) did the trick, she was at her venomous
worst in New York. While ostensibly fundraising for shelters
for orphans and widows, she justified the RamJanmaBhoomi movement
on the pretext that "if the youth of India stood up for
the cause, even Muslims will start to say Long Live Lord Ram
[Yahan to meeyan log bhi bolenge, Jai Shree Ram]." The
300 odd people who had made it to the event had coughed out
between $50 to $1,000 each. In her five week tour of the U.S
and U.K, the fortune she amassed is anybody's guess! Rithambara's
fundraising activities are apparently beyond the purview of
the executive order on terrorist financing! Furthermore, in
a cruel twist of irony, while she claims, in spite of having
(mis)used a religious platform (Ganesh temple in New York)
to spit venom against other religions, to be the upholder
of Hinduism, those protesting her visit were branded anti-Hindu!
Doesn't really paint a rosy picture of Hinduism to the uninitiated,
If after having been outlawed by both the U.S and Indian
governments, Islamic fanaticism continues to pose as much
a threat as it does, doesn't Hindu fanaticism, operating under
the patronage/indifference of these governments, pose a much
bigger threat? Since the Indian Government only seems to be
concerned with the happenings in Kashmir, isn't it even more
imperative for us to do our mite to restore normalcy in Gujarat
and ensure there'll be no more Gujarats? Lets start off by
strangling the funding for fanaticism, be it for Hindutva
as in the U.S and UK, or for Jihad as in say, Saudi Arabia.
While continuing to pressurize the Governments to act, lets
petition the individual donors.