Activists Tell Corporations: "Stop Funding Hate"
By Subuhi Jiwani
World War 3 Report, December 9, 2002 original
The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate , a US-based group of scholars,
artists and activists, has released a 91-page report entitled
"A Foreign Exchange of Hate," detailing the channeling
of funds donated by US corporations for "philanthropic"
work in India into Sangh Parivar, the network of organizations
affiliated with the Hindu rightist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sabha
(RSS), accused of fueling "sectarian hate in India."
The Maryland-based India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF)
is accused of redirecting the funds--ostensibly donated for
"secular" charities--to Sangh Parivar. (The Times
of India, Nov. 22)
Stop Funding Hate spokesperson Biju Mathew said: "Many
large US corporations such as CISCO, Sun, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard
'match' employee contributions to US-based charity non-profit
organizations. Unsuspecting corporations end up giving large
amounts of money as matching funds to IDRF as employees of
these firms direct funds to IDRF." The report states
that in 1999 Cisco gave "about $70,000 to IDRF,"
which, when added to employee contributions, amounts to $133,000
for the 1999-2000 financial cycle. Mathew states that stateside
Indians registered as volunteers or "swayamsevaks"
for the Sangh advocate "IDRF as the best and only way
to provide funding for development and relief work in India,
thus causing not only other unsuspecting employees but also
the corporation to fund the Sangh in India." (Rediff.com,
Both Sun Microsystems and Cisco have put their donations
to IDRF on hold. The IDRF's immediate response was one of
denial, saying that the report was a product of "leftist
groups" and that it is "pure concoction, untruthful
and self-contradictory." In response to IDRF's rejoinder,
Stop Funding Hate said: "If IDRF is indeed what it purports
to be, it needs to challenge the report with facts and with
a clear articulation of its relationship with the Sangh."
The IDRF has also initiated a " Stop Hatred and Let
India Develop "petition, which has collected 3600 signatures
"to protest the ongoing intellectual violence in the
name of Mahatma Gandhi and the subsequent hate campaign started
by Biju Mathew, a 'Forum of Indian Leftists' member and his
Communist/Marxist supporters against the IDRF." Stop
Funding Hate member Satish Kolluri told WW3 REPORT that "most
signatures on the petition are those of Hindus. You cannot
find one Muslim signature. The signatures are also those of
upper caste, Brahmanical Hindus. This is very reflective of
the upper caste, Brahmanical nature of Hindutava or Hindu
fundamentalism, itself." In contrast, Stop Funding Hate's
petition contains signatures from a variety of religious communities.
Stop Funding Hate states on its website that while it does
not agree with the politics of the Sangh or the IDRF, those
individuals "who want to send their money to the Sangh
Parivar through the IDRF should be able to do so, based on
informed consent. Our campaign is directed against the deception
that the IDRF employs to cloak its political affinity."
Biju Mathew also points out that the IDRF made no attempts
to collect funds for the victims of the VHP-engineered sectarian
violence in Gujarat earlier this year. The IDRF has helped
to raise funds for Bangladeshi Hindu victims of communal violence,
Kashmiri Hindu victims of terrorism and post-9-ll relief efforts
in the US. "In all three cases," Mathew said, "the
people responsible for perpetrating the disaster were Muslims
and the victims largely non-Muslim."