Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami relief donations - Careful who you give your money to 

A quick Google News search of "IDRF" came up with the following hits below. The IDRF (India Development and Relief Fund) being associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). RSS being a secretive sectarian Hindu fundamentalist group with a history of sectarian violence and right wing political activism.

Google search of "IDRF":
How you can help | India New England, MA - 1 hour ago... repair of houses. To donate, visit www.idrf.org or send a check to IDRF, 40 Orchard St., Tewksbury, MA 01876. The Next Generation ...

Hundreds share grief, pray | San Jose Mercury News (subscription), CA - 6 hours ago ... International USA (www. SewaUSA.org), the India Development and Relief Fund (www.IDRF.org) and BAPS Care International (www.bapscare.org).

By: GREGG GETHARD, For The Times Herald | Norristown Times Herald, PA - Dec 30, 2004... facilities. The IDRF will also help fund-raising efforts' in connection with the Bharatiya Temple. ... Their Web page is www.idrf.org. Checks ...

South Asian Americans Confront Tsunami with Faith and Fundraisers New California Media, CA - Dec 31, 2004... contributions. IDRF chapters in different parts of the US will be organizing fund-raisers over the next four weeks, said a press release. ...

Local charities rally for tsunami survivors | MetroWest Daily News, MA - Dec 28, 2004... Donations to the India Development & Relief Fund may be made on the Web at www.idrf.org, or can be mailed to IDRF, 40 Orchard St., Tewksbury, MA 01876. ...

Prayers, funds raised | phillyburbs.com, PA - Dec 29, 2004... Mukund Kute, IDRF's media coordinator, said these organizations have raised significant totals before - in 2001 they raised $60,000 for victims of the Gujarat ...

For more on the topic of right wing Hindu fundamentalism/extremism, the RSS and the IDRF, affiliated groups, and the current relief efforts for tsunami victims in south Asia see warning via: Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH)

Please remember the lessons of past natural calamities: Latur earthquake in 1993, Orissa cyclone in 1999 and the massive earthquake that shook Gujarat in 2001. Sectarian groups in the guise of non profits have swooped in on these areas engulfed in tragedy (funded in large part by unsuspecting donors in the US) and established their presence in the grief-stricken communities on the pretext of providing relief. Not only did this lead to unequal disbursement of relief among various communities, but it also caused further fracturing of these struggling communities along lines of caste and religion.

This time too, the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Sewa International and Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA) have all put out appeals for Tsunami relief. CSFH has done extensive research on these groups and traced their linkages to the parent organization in India: the violent and anti-minority Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). (See http://www.stopfundinghate.org for details.) Affiliates of this organization have been implicated by numerous national and international human rights groups as having engineered the anti-Muslim Gujarat pograms in 2002 and the anti-Christian violence in 1998-2000. RSS itself is a secretive organization, openly sectarian in its operations, and is not legally permitted by the Government of India to accept funds from abroad; consequently, its US affiliates (IDRF, HSS etc.) are raising funds for organizations like Sewa Bharati, Jana Sankshema Samiti and Vivekananda Kendra in India, all of which are intrinsic parts of RSS operations in India and follow its divisive ideology.

We urge everyone to make the responsible choice in favor of supporting secular groups with a long-standing commitment to the pluralistic ethos and democratic ideals of India. On our part, we are following up on our work of the past several years some of which is documented at http://www.stopfundinghate.org . We will be happy to assist you with any information and would really appreciate it if you will alert us to the debates and discussions that you are involved in by emailing us at info@stopfundinghate.org

Arundhati Roy discusses the RSS/Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and affiliates in The Nation magazine, September 30, 2002 (unfortunately not posted online at The nation website at this time) in an article titled Fascism's Firm Footprint in India. (note: You may find this article mirrored online if you run a search for it.) Below is an excerpt. On the RSS:

While the parallels between contemporary India and prewar Germany are chilling, they're not surprising. (The founders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS], the National Volunteer Force that is the moral and cultural guild of the BJP, have in their writings been frank in their admiration for Hitler and his methods.) One difference is that here in India we don't have a Hitler. We have instead the hydra-headed, many-armed Sangh Parivar-the "joint family" of Hindu political and cultural organizations, with the BJP, the RSS, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal each playing a different instrument. Its utter genius lies in its apparent ability to be all things to all people at all times. The Sangh Parivar speaks in as many tongues. It can say several contradictory things simultaneously. While one of its heads (the VHP) exhorts millions of its cadres to prepare for the Final Solution, its titular head (the prime minister) assures the nation that all citizens, regardless of their religion, will be treated equally. It can ban books and films and burn paintings for "insulting Indian culture."

Simultaneously, it can mortgage the equivalent of 60 percent of the entire country's rural development budget as profit to Enron. But underneath all the clamor and the noise, a single heart beats. And an unforgiving mind with saffron-saturated tunnel vision works overtime. (Fascism's Firm Footprint in India, by Arundhati Roy)

Radio note: Robert Fisk, on Democracy Now, today.


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