Hindu Vivek Kendra

6. Conclude first and then get the data

6.1 At the beginning we have pointed out that the standard communist technique is to first put a label of a convict on their opponent, and then examine the case, if possible, but do not worry about such formalities. The programme of 'warning' the donors to stop assisting IDRF is not new. These 'warnings' have been coming for a long time - that is even before the so-called analysis was completed in the form of the Report. This then becomes a standard Goebbles technique of stating a lie a hundred times so that eventually it becomes the truth.

6.2 One such warning came on 14 September, 1999, when the All India Christian Council, based in Andhra Pradesh, came out with a press statement with the following subject line: "How the Parivar gets its dollar funds from innocent and not so innocent organisations abroad. Church funds too find their way to killers of Christians". It alleged that "the Parivar is using its money to train killer gangs who wreak murder on the minorities, torture and rape the Dalits, and otherwise work very hard to demolish the plural heritage of the country and the secular character of its democratic Constitution."

6.3 This press statement also alleged that even Christian organisations, like the Salvation Army, were funding VHP-America, and gave out what it called a truncated list of the donors. What the Council did was to visit the website of VHP-America, and then with a simple switch, changed recipients of moneys from this Hindu organisation into donors. Everything else in the list was kept identical. This is the manner in which 'evidence' is collected. However, since the objective is to create confusion, a tactics of spit-and-run is quite sufficient.

6.4 We have mentioned the article ("Hindutva for a few dollars more") written by Mathew and Vijay Prashad in a communist publication in India in March 2001. On May 23, 2002, The Wall Street Journal published an article "India Confronts Its Own Intolerance", by Kanwal Rekhi, the global chairman of The Indus Entrepreneurs, an organization of South Asian businesspeople, and Mr. Henry S Rowen, a professor emeritus at Stanford and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution. In it they said:

· Many overseas Indian Hindus finance religious groups in India in the belief that the funds will be used to build temples, and educate and feed the poor of their faith. Many would be appalled to know that some recipients of their money are out to destroy minorities (Christians as well as Muslims) and their places of worship. Mr. Vajpayee could deal a severe blow to such covert causes by simply labeling them as terrorists.
6.5 Rekhi-Rowen do not say what is the evidence they have to make this statement. Since the authors of the Report say that they have been working 'meticulously' for the last so many years, could they be the source? Life is interesting if one is permitted to speculate!

6.6 In the week starting May 27, a USA based organisation called Coalition against Communalism, issued full page ads in India Abroad and India West, in which they asked "Did our generosity fund the carnage in Gujarat?" It had the Rekhi-Rowen quote, and in addition there was a quote of IG Patel, former governor, Reserve Bank of India, taken from Rediff.com of May 13, 2002. Patel appeals as follows:

6.7 We do not know if Patel has specifically identified any of the Islamic fundamentalist organisations, or the basis of his information. In any case, if he has the information, it would be interesting to know if he has passed the same to the government authorities in India.

6.8 The statement of Rekhi-Rowen triggered an article entitled "Deflections to the Right" in the Outlook (July 22, 2002). In its very first paragraph the above Rekhi-Rowen quote is mentioned. This article seems to be a summary of the Report that has now come out, and has also specifically targeted IDRF. Of course, there is no mention that there are some seven intrepid souls who are working diligently and will soon be coming out with the Report.

6.11 Interestingly, he avers:

· For about a decade, Biju Mathew (best known for his work with the New York Taxi Workers' Association) and I have conducted research on the Hindutva Right in the US and we've found that millions of dollars travel each year through illegal and legal networks to finance right-wing activity in the subcontinent.
6.12 This is the same Mathew who is one of the authors of the Report. Actually, it has intrigued us that Prashad is not identified as one of the authors, since the partnership between him and Mathew is quite legendary. The article in the communist publication, mentioned above, were co-authored by them.

6.13 In the Outlook article, to no surprise, Prashad also mentions the above quote of Rekhi-Rowen.

6.14 The role of Angana Chatterji, another of the authors of the Report, in the build up is interesting, particularly considering that her writings appeared in two Pakistani papers. She wrote an article in the Daily Times, and a letter to a Pakistani newspaper, Dawn. The article, "Indian Diaspora Funding Hindu Extremism", in the Daily Times (July 31, 2002) begins as follows:

· It is now no secret that the Sangh Parivar, the collective name given to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal and other Hindu extremist organizations, is exploiting religion (Hindutva) to foment communal violence in India. To this end they are organizing the ultra-right, non-secular and undemocratic forces in India. What is less known is how these forces of injustice and bigotry are funded, especially by the Indian-Hindu communities living abroad.
6.15 It then refers to the Outlook article of July 22, just as the letter in Dawn (August 6, 2002) does. Nowhere does she refer to the Report that would be published in another three months, nor about her role in it. The impression given is that she is basing her views on the Outlook article.

6.16 In the August 8, 2002, issue of The Hindu, Robert Hathaway of a Washington based think tank, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, entitled "Charity. or terrorism?" said: "It is probably advisable for the American Government to hold an official inquiry into fund-raising in the U.S. by groups implicated in the Gujarat violence." He also says:

· Credible reports have recently suggested that substantial sums of money are sent from Indians resident in the U.S., and from American citizens of Indian origin, to groups and organisations in Gujarat and elsewhere in India that are directly linked to the violence in Gujarat. I do not know if these accounts are true. But respected Indian journalists have uncovered disturbing linkages. If these reports prove accurate, then it is possible that such financial transactions violate U.S. anti-terrorism statutes.

· Alternatively, issues of fraud may be at issue. Responsible sources report that some U.S. residents make financial contributions to overseas religious groups in the belief that these funds are to be used for religious or humanitarian purposes, when in fact the monies so raised are used to promote religious bigotry.

· In either event, it is probably advisable for the American Government to hold an official inquiry into fund-raising in the U.S. by groups implicated in the Gujarat violence, to ensure that U.S. laws are not being violated. Legitimate organisations need not fear such an investigation, which would serve to clear their names and reassure potential donors about the legitimacy of their fund-raising activities.

6.17 Hathaway talks about 'credible reports', 'respect Indian journalists', and 'responsible sources'. (How he attributes these adjectives to the various nouns is not clear.) And he also says: 'I do not know if these accounts are true.' If this the standard of scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, then...

6.18 In June 2002, Hathaway has made a deposition in front of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Outlook article says:

· Hathaway asked the commission to recommend an inquiry into fund-raising activities in the US by groups implicated in the recent violence in Gujarat. He told the commission that "some US residents make financial contributions to overseas religious groups in the belief that these funds are to be used for religious or humanitarian purposes, when in fact the monies so raised are used to promote religious bigotry".
6.19 One assumes that a genuine scholar would not make such statements in a flippant manner. Thus, what is pertinent is to know if Hathaway has provided to the concerned authorities the evidence that he has based on which he asks his government to make an investigation. If he has, there is no news about it. And given the manner in which the Report has been covered in the media, one has to wonder if Hathaway has provided the information to anyone. Or, for that matter, he has any 'evidence' at all.

6.21 Efforts had been made to give the Report wide publicity even before it was officially released. In this endeavour, members of all sorts of organisations in India were used. We have evidence with respect to three - namely Insaniyat, Network for Women in Media (NWM) and Oxfam. Sandhya Srinivasan posted a message on the NWM discussion list, forwarding a request received from Insaniyat, which itself received a communication from a person in Oxfam in Ahmedabad. The communication said that "a report is going to be released today (Oct 30) documenting the sources of money for the IDRF." Interestingly, it also said; "The goal of releasing this report is to pressure several big electronic portals, credit card companies and banks to stop funding IDRF because its money is sent back to help Sangh Parivar agendas." The communication further said there was a need for "committed journalists in India who will help give publicity to this story." (Since this document highlights the mode of working of the groups involved in preparing the Report, we are giving the full text as Annexure 1. Moreover, does Oxfam permit its employees to be so involved?)

6.23 Thus, there seems to be a concerted attempt to build up a momentum to build up to a crescendo to coincide with the official release of the Report in November 2002, to much media fanfare, a Report which is claimed to be meticulously prepared. The use, in this case, of international organisations like Oxfam for the purpose of conducting political propaganda is nothing new, and has been done in the past in many cases.

6.24 Since Prashad's name is not included as one of the authors, we are not sure if the evidence collected by Mathew with the help of Prashad forms the basis of the data. It just seems a little odd to us that even after this decade long investigation, the only evidence that they are able to provide is from the websites of those whom they accuse of undertaking a fraud. Perhaps Prashad and Mathew will come out with another report soon, setting out further 'evidence' on the subject. Or perhaps not!

6.25 Interestingly, Prashad has written an article in Frontline (which is an active promoter of the communists in India), in which he says:

· Until the report by the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate most of what we knew had been by innuendo and through interviews with exiles from the land of Yankee Hindutva. Now we have information and documentation that largely proves the culpability of guilty dollars in the barbarous acts of the Sangh Parivar. ("Countering Yankee Hindutva", December 7-20, 2002.)
6.26 And then we read the ubiquitous Rekhi-Rowen quote. So, is it Rekhi-Rowen who set the ball rolling this 'meticulous' inquiry of how the Hindus in the USA are funding 'hate in India'? Or is it that the ten years of investigation by Mathew-Prashad that is the basis? We wonder if we will ever know.

6.27 But, in the July 2002 article (that is five months ago) in Outlook, Prashad categorically states that, in their ten years of investigation, he and Mathew 'found that millions of dollars travel each year through illegal and legal networks to finance right- wing activity in the subcontinent." Is this one more example of the definition of meticulousness that the communist are notorious for?

6.28 At a larger level, does this mean that when he (along with Mathew) wrote the article "Hindutva For a Few Dollars a Day" (People's Democracy (Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)) March 25, 2001), he had based it on innuendos? And that the All India Christian Council, Rekhi-Rowen, Hathaway, Outlook magazine, Chatterjee, etc., were all going on the basis of innuendos? And what about the ten years of effort that Prashad and Mathew claim that they have been making? Things do get very curious, and we hope we have confused the reader of the analysis as much as we ourselves are!