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British donors fund anti-Muslim violence in India

New Delhi, December 13: The British Channel4 TV has revealed that a “reputed” British charity, Sewa International, has been surreptitiously channelling funds to fascist Hindu organisations to be used for harming Indian Muslims and Christians.

This comes close to the recent revelation that a US-charity, India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), has been pumping millions of dollars to the Hindu hate outfits in India.

In Britain Sewa had been claiming that they passed on funds to Indian organisations working among the poor. What in fact had been happening was that much of the funds had been regularly been channelled to Hindu fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its front organisations like Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. These organisations were directly involved in the three-month long state-sponsored anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat state earlier this year.

Jonathan Miller of Channel4 reported Thursday, December 12, that HSS, the British arm of RSS, has been registered in Britain as a charity for the last 30 years. Every week it holds 72 shakhas (fascist-style drill and indoctrination camps) all over Britain.

Every year up to 60 of these volunteers come from Britain to India for special training by RSS on fraudulently raised funds from unsuspecting donors, including Muslims and white Christians. Sewa had even recruited four British peers including Lord Dholakia (president of Liberal Democrat Party), Paul Botaeng (cabinet minister), and Lord Adam Patel of Blackburn.

Lord Adam Patel, a Muslim of Gujarati Indian origin, said that he was shocked to see the hidden face of Sewa: “Well, I was absolutely shocked. They were involved directly or indirectly in many communal riots, they were involved in the destruction of Ayodhya mosque. So I said what’s going on? Have I lent my name to the wrong organisation?”

In August Lord Patel wrote a letter demanding details of Sewa’s relations with Hindu fascist organisations in India. Sewa, which had been merrily using his name so far, did not deem it fit to reply. Lord Patel resigned in disgust. The worst point of it all was that the February-April pogrom was staged by these organisations in Gujarat itself, the place from where Lord Patel comes.

Sewa had been channelling funds to RSS front organisation Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, which works among tribals to prevent them from converting to Christianity. The Ashram was involved in mobilising tribals to attack and kill Muslims, burn down their houses, rape women, and destroy mosques.

The Ashram also organises attacks on churches and priests in tribal areas. The Ashram website is not too modest about its predilections. It says it is “dedicated to weaning” tribals “away from the evil influence of foreign missionaries and anti-national forces.” No wonder, they have been systematically attacking churches and murdering priests and spreading hate against Muslims and Christians, “the anti-national forces,” in their parlance.

The devious methodology not only duped Lord Patel to support what India’s top retired judges said was a “genocide” of Muslims, even Prince Charles was misled by their humanitarian veneer. The Prince of Wales’ office wrote “the Prince continues to be most impressed by the excellent work being done by Sewa International (and sends his best wishes to all the staff and volunteers).”

Lord Meghnad Desai of London School of Economics told Channel4, “The RSS is like a fascist youth movement, like Black Shirts or something like that, but perhaps with deeper roots, because the RSS has been there for 75 years plus. In that time the RSS has evolved a unique, and some say potentially lethal, philosophy.” Lord Desai, too, is of Indian Gujarati origin.

Chelan Bhatt of Goldsmith College, London explained, “The core ideas of the RSS are based on an ideology called Hindutva or Hindu nationalism. This was an idea formed in the 1920s and at the root of it is the idea that India has to be an exclusive nation-state, where minorities must demonstrate unconditional love and obedience to the nation. Otherwise, they will be converted forcibly or removed.”

Bhatt explained that in India the popular Hindutva slogan is that Muslim have only two places to choose from Pakistan or kabristan (graveyard). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) heading the ruling coalition at Centre is a Hindutva party and the political wing of RSS. Last year HSS of Britain (British arm of the RSS) raised $4 million for earthquake relief in Gujarat. Muslims and low-caste Hindus barely got anything out of these funds.

Channel4 has unearthed direct evidence of the Hindu fascist Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’s involvement in the anti-Muslim pogrom. It talked to a victim, Mohammad Hajji, who said, “We had to run away from our village. This is our house which they burnt. They looted our property. About 50 homes were destroyed here. And this is our mosque which they burned down. We had no fight, quarrel, problem of any sort with the tribals. We used to live peacefully with them.” Jonathan Miller says that in village after village victims blamed Kalyan Ashram for the violence.

A Hindu activist told Channel4 that the Kalyan Ashram had provided bows and arrows to tribals as well as revolvers and led the attacks on Muslims. Another Hindu fascist activist said, “The Christians have made a church in our village. We have thought several times of destroying it. One day we will definitely break it down.”

Concerned Indians have approached the UK Charity Commission to look into the dangerous deception. Quite a few of such front organisations have been doing the same in the US. A citizens’ group there has launched a programme “Project Saffron Dollar” to stop these fascist groups from obtaining US funds for anti-Muslim, anti-Christian hate campaigns and pogroms.

Full Channel4 report: q

(13 Dec. 2002)

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