BRITISH CHARITIES LINKED TO GUJARAT TERROR
By Subuhi Jiwani
World War 3 Report, December 23, 2002 original
Dec 13, the UK Charity Commission--a government-funded charity
watchdog--filed a formal investigation into allegations made
by Britain's Channel 4 about the channeling of funds from
British charities Sewa International and Hindu Swayamsevak
Sabha (HSS) into sectarian violence in India.
The HSS is the sister organization of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sabha (RSS), ideological think tank of the Sangh Parivar,
an umbrella organization of Hindu nationalist groups including
the ruling Bharitya Janata Party (BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parhishad
(VHP), the Bajrang Dal, and others. Sewa International is
the service arm of the HSS and claims that it collects funds
for "relief and development" projects in India.
In its expose, Channel 4 profiled the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram,
an organization which claims it has converted thousands of
tribal people to Hinduism. Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram's purpose,
as stated on its website, is to "[wean] tribal people
away from the evil influence of foreign missionaries and anti-national
forces." Sewa International, the expose reveals, filed
its accounts with the Charity Commission in 1997, the same
year the conversion campaign began.
P.B. Sawant, a retired Supreme Court Judge, who has heard
the testimonies of several Gujarat massacre survivors, had
this say: "The organization called Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram,
through which the tribals are being indoctrinated into communal
philosophy, was roped in [for the violent attacks], and all
those who were trained there were also enrolled for violence."
The HSS and Sewa International, which share a common charity
registration number, have denied the allegations--much like
their US counterpart, the India Development and Relief Fund.
Sewa International which had collected 2.5 million pounds
for the Gujarat earthquake relief, admitted that it had donated
"a couple of thousand pounds to the Kalyan Ashram for
sponsoring one or two students for education." (Times
of India, Dec. 13; Channel 4, Dec. 12)
See also "Activists
Tell Corporations: 'Stop Funding Hate' in India"