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Tuesday 28 December 2004

US Located Relief Effort

Thanks to Shashi Prabhu (from Office) for this one.

A united fundraiser is being planned by IDRF, Philadelphia in association with CIO, Bharatiya Temple, and Local organizations of Indian-Americans. IDRF is soliciting contributions for the relief and rehabilitation of Tsunami victims. IDRF has already released $10,000 towards immediate relief efforts and will match dollar-to-dollar for donations up to $50,000.

Email idrf@aol.com or idrfboston@yahoo.com
Mukund M Kute: 215-661-9283
Maya Shenoy: pathli@gmail.com

Those who are willing to help, please make check payable to ‘IDRF’ (mention ‘Tsunami’ in the memo) and mail it to:
4807 Phebe Ave,
Fremont, CA 94555

From my understanding - Old Clothes are being accepted - They will be aggregated and shipped out . Will post an update on the details as I get them.

P.S - I understand that contributions are tax deductible
5 Comments Post a Comment
Blogger Cheeru said :

What a laudable job !! The site has really been useful and hope people will read info here and act immediately. If possible, please provide info about local organisations also as many people would be contributing to the international organisations but not the local ones. I would email some info about local help organisations and you people can post them. Keep up the spirit.

Tue Dec 28, 10:05:00 AM IST  
Blogger Rob said :

I've added you on my blogroll and as a top of the page link. I'm so sorry for your loss, and the devastation in SE Asia.

I heard on our local news tonight that there is going to be a fundraiser at the East-West Center here in Honolulu (http://www.eastwestcenter.org/) to raise money for the aid effort. Their site doesn't have anything on it yet, but it's probably too short notice for them to have updated their site.

Best wishes from Honolulu, Hawaii. The world mourns with you.

Tue Dec 28, 10:18:00 AM IST  
Anonymous Anonymous said :


CSFH Urges Responsible Giving in the Wake of Tsunami Tragedy


It is time to give and give generously. As the death toll climbs past 150,000 and the world comes to grips with the devastation caused by the deadly Indian Ocean tsunamis, numerous organizations across Asia are stepping up to organize relief and rehabilitation. We at the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) urge all individuals in the U.S. and elsewhere to support them by donating generously.

However, our responsibility does not end with giving. It is also our combined responsibility to ensure that our funds do not end up in sectarian hands, and that this tragedy does not turn into another opportunity for communal groups to gain foothold in our plural society.


The response to the tsunami tragedy in the US has been heartening, with hundreds of dedicated volunteers making enormous effort to raise resources for relief operations in India and elsewhere. Many of these groups have a long history of carrying out grass-roots, non-sectarian development work in India, and have been able to effectively mobilize their networks at this time to administer relief. They can be counted upon for working closely with affected communities in a transparent and accountable manner. The immense loss of life in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand, makes it incumbent on us to consider giving to our suffering Asian neighbors, either through transnational organizations or through informal networks of local community-based organizations. (See below for a partial list of such organizations).

Many of us are also members of a variety of linguistic, regional and cultural associations. Because of their social and cultural affinities, such organizations are well equipped to intervene in on the ground activities. Precisely because of these reasons, sectarian groups try to use them as vehicles to advance their own agendas. We therefore urge you all to not only take an active part in the fund raising activities of these organizations but also be involved in discussions on how and where the funds are to be used. Disasters of this kind are occasions when we should be on high alert to keep social justice at the top of the agenda.


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 pogroms 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

We are building a FAQ to be posted on our site and it will be helpful to know the kinds of questions being raised. Meanwhile, please feel free to use the list below as a starting point to identify the kind of organizations that are worthy of support.

Thank you
CSFH (http://www.stopfundinghate.org)


A partial list of non-sectarian, grassroots groups involved in relief operations:

1. AID - Association for India's Development

2. American India Foundation

3. Asha For Education

4. India Literacy Project

5. India Relief and Education Fund

6. Indians for Collective Action

7. Pratham

8. Singh Foundation

9. Vibha

These groups are partnering with various mass-based organizations and NGOs in India, such as the Tamil Nadu Science Forum, the National Fishworkers Forum, Vidyarambam, APVVU (agricultural workers' union in AP), People's Watch, Bharathi Trust and Bhoomika Trust.

Among international organizations, Doctors Without Borders is reputed to be the most committed and experienced with meeting disasters with professional expertise. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

The International Red Cross has country specific operations which may be accessed and supported through the following links:

Sri Lanka: http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/sri_lanka!Open
Indonesia: http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/indonesia!Open
Thailand: http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/thailand!Open

Additionally, we urge you to also spread the word about the Red Cross's 'Family Links' initiative which helps locate separated family members throughout the affected region. You can find out more about this from

Mon Jan 03, 03:30:00 PM IST  
Blogger someone else said :

More information on IDRF and other sectarian groups from http://www.stopfundinghate.org/resources/atdfaq.htm

1.Why are you trying to prevent IDRF, HSS, VHPA and Sewa International from raising money for Tsunami relief?

We are not "trying to prevent" anyone from donating to any organization they wish to give their money to. We just want donors to know that by contributing to the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) or other organizations such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Sewa International (SI, not to be confused with Seva Foundation) or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), they are in effect providing funds to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (sometimes translated as National Volunteer Corps, but most commonly referred to as the RSS). Now the RSS is not just any sectarian organization, but one that actively spreads anti-minority hatred, has immense reach in India, and a long history of fomenting violence against religious and cultural minorities in India [[1]].

If donors are interested in ensuring that (a) all people affected by the tsunami receive relief and rehabilitation support, irrespective of their particular caste, religion or cultural affiliation, and that (b) relief and rehabilitation work is not used to create long-term divisions and animosity by manipulating communities already made vulnerable by this catastrophe, THEN giving money to sectarian organizations such as the RSS would indeed be a very bad idea. On the other hand, by giving to organizations that have a track record of being transparent and free of the politics of hate, donors would ensure that their money is used to help people and communities based on their needs rather than based on what their religious beliefs or caste affiliations happen to be. But of course, if you agree with the RSS' agenda of creating long term communal/caste divisions in the guise of providing relief, we are not the ones you eventually have to answer to.

2.But IDRF is raising money for many different organizations. Do you mean to say that all of these organizations are affiliated to the RSS?

No. Of the long list of Indian organizations that IDRF purports to support, only Sewa Bharati (TN and Kerala), Jana Sankshema Samiti and Vivekananda Kendra are clearly identified as RSS affiliates. In which case, you may well ask, why do we claim that IDRF raises money for the RSS? For that, let's take a look at IDRF's history.

a) CSFH has documented that from the years 1994 to 2000, IDRF raised over $4 million for more than 180 groups. These groups included a whole spectrum of organizations, including some that were secular. However, IDRF chose to disburse over 80% of the funds in its control to RSS groups [[2]]. A long list of non-RSS organizations by itself is meaningless if the bulk of the funds are
going to go to member organizations of the Sangh [[3]].

b) Orissa cyclone, 1999: Right after the Orissa cyclone, IDRF raised money for 18 different organizations of which only 3 were prominent RSS affiliated groups (Sookruti, Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti and Bhau Rao Deoras Rashtriya Seva Nyas). However, of the $410,700 that IDRF disbursed for relief and rehabilitation efforts following the cyclone, just these 3 RSS affiliates together received over 40% of the funds ($163,000) [[4]].

c) Gujarat Earthquake, 2001: At the time of this disaster, IDRF raised $1,352,940 for 17 different groups. However, in this case again, just one organization -- RSS's main service front, Sewa Bharati -- got over 56% ($760,000) of the total earthquake funds [[5]].

With this history, we can only surmise that this time too, a disproportionately large share of IDRF's funds will go to Sewa Bharati and other RSS-affiliates. From the very beginning, IDRF has focused almost exclusively on the Sangh groups, listing them in its first press release and then publishing Sewa Bharati reports on its website on a nearly daily basis, each extolling readers to donate to Sewa Bharati. All of this lends credibility to our claims that IDRF is seeking to line the coffers of the RSS with this disaster as well.

3. What is wrong with the Sewa Bharati?

Before we go into that, it is useful to note that the RSS, the apex organization of the Sangh Parivar, [[6] lacks the most rudimentary features of a legitimate public organization in India, such as being registered with the government, having a bank account, or filing tax returns. Although it is all over the public space in India, organizationally, the RSS prefers to remain secretive and shadowy and operates in large part through front organizations run by trained swayamsevaks. [[7]] As mentioned in the response to question 2 above, Sangh organizations such as the IDRF have a history of using tragedies to raise funds for RSS activities in India.

That Sewa Bharati is an RSS affiliate is undeniable. Besides the fact that Sewa Bharati Tamil Nadu is housed in the same office as the Southern Region branch of the RSS, [[8]] it is also the RSS' preferred vehicle for Sewa (service) activities. For instance, if you go to the RSS' homepage (www.rss.org) and click the tab for its Sewa activity, the organization you land with is Sewa Bharati. Elsewhere, the RSS openly declares Sewa Bharati as its main service organization. [[9]] Given all this, IDRF's privileging of Sewa Bharati comes as no surprise.

While Sewa Bharati officially claims its "thrust areas" to be education, health and self help, a brief glance at some of the material published by the RSS [[10]] itself shows that Sewa Bharati's fundamental mission is that of Hinduization. We must be clear that Hinduization, Islamization or Christianization, has nothing to do with relief, rehabilitation or development and should not even be a side effect. Unfortunately, with the RSS, this is often the main effect.

In Madhya Pradesh, where Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (a Sangh organization implicated in the Gujarat pogroms [11]]) and Sewa Bharati Madhya Pradesh were the biggest beneficiaries of IDRF [[12]], the Madhya Pradesh government banned Sewa Bharati for its involvement in the violence against the Christian minority. [13]] Sewa Bharati has also been banned for planning to "stir racial hatred" in Ayodhya. [[14]]

Given its dubious past, it's clear that any donations to Sewa Bharati will, far from helping the victims of the current disaster, only sow the seeds for a future disaster.

4. Aren't the Tamil Nadu fisherfolk communities largely Christian? What influence can the Sangh have there?

That is exactly where the problem lies. It is true that there is a very significant dalit Christian population among the effected communities, but the Sangh, through its Tamil Nadu front - The Hindu Munnani - has been trying to divide that community along religious lines for the last decade. The Hindu Munnani is most active in Tamil Nadu amongst the fisherfolk communities.

With the funds coming to the Sangh in the name of disaster relief, the Munnani will be able to launch aggressive campaigns against the dalit Christians and the Sangh would have created a new potentially explosive situation just as it did so successfully in Orissa and Gujarat.

Do we want the situation in Kutch to be reproduced in coastal Tamil Nadu? (such as rebuilding temples and crematoriums and not rebuilding mosques and churches; such as discriminating against Dalits and Muslims in the rebuilding of houses). More importantly, the problem has never been of a single instance of discrimination. With such discriminatory use of resources, the RSS entered these villages in Kutch and established itself there with a consolidated power base. This meant that from then on, the RSS, could as part of the daily life of the village mount an aggressive campaign against the minorities, culminating sometimes in open threats and violence.

5.Why are you against Hindu organizations and not against Muslim/Christian groups? (After all, Catholic Relief Services has gotten the largest relief package going.)

We are not against Buddhist or Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Sikh or any other religious organizations. We are ONLY against organizations that use religious and caste ideology to foment hatred and violence, and the Sangh is the worst offender in this regard.

Various religious bodies, including temple, mosque and church-based groups, are doing tremendous work in the tsunami effected areas without differentiating between followers of different faiths. In fact we believe that when a catastrophe like the tsunami happens, groups centered around places of worship have more immediate access to the communities they are based in, and are sometimes able to deliver immediate relief faster than anybody else. In contrast, groups like the RSS use these crisis moments instrumentally to spread hate, anger and the fear of other communities.

While we agree that it is important to oppose all such organizations, not least the fundamentalist Christian and Muslim groups, who wait in the wings to pounce whenever tragedy strikes, it is far more important to confront and expose the RSS in India because it is exponentially more powerful than any other such exclusionist organization.

6. OK fine, the IDRF is part of the Sangh and the Sangh is violent at times. But they also do good work during crises such as this tsunami, so why should I not support them in their good work? Are you not obstructing the relief and rehabilitation of people who have been hurt by trying to prevent IDRF, HSS, VHPA and Sewa International from getting donations for the Tsunami relief?

We should not let ourselves get fooled by the false dichotomy of "good work" versus "bad work." The fact is, as explained above, the Sangh becomes particularly active when natural disasters strike, because it sees natural disasters as golden opportunities to gain a hold over communities undergoing tremendous human suffering by performing "good work." It then stays around and slowly destroys the soul of the community by continually injecting its poison of divisions and hatreds that eventually explode in violence.

Not giving money to the Sangh is in no way going to obstruct the relief and rehabilitation of any of the communities suffering from the destruction wrought by the tsunami. Please remember that the Sangh does not provide any particular access to any of these communities; there are a host of grass-roots groups who not only have transparent operations and secular values, but also have a long history of working with these communities and do not manipulate or use a crisis situation to advance sectarian agendas. Donors can find lists of agencies at many sites, including at CSFH's site (www.stopfundinghate.org), of US-based organizations connected to such grass-roots operations in India. The list provided by CSFH is just a small sample of such groups and includes organizations that have a wide range of people at their helm--from former US President Clinton to business executives to development activists--and are able to deliver relief without sowing the seeds of hatred. We do not recommend any particular agency or organization, donors must choose the ones they are most comfortable with, but we are certainly saying that the organizations we list, and we cannot stress this enough, will not create conditions of hatred and violence, unlike those affiliated to the RSS.

Wed Jan 05, 08:34:00 PM IST  
Anonymous Anonymous said :

* "The Hindu organizations most responsible for violence against Christians are the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, VHP), the Bajrang Dal,and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps, RSS). According to a former RSS member, these groups cannot be divorced from the ruling BJP party: "There is no difference between the BJP and RSS. BJP is the body. RSS is the soul, and the Bajrang Dal is the hands for beating."
[ http://www.hrw.org/press/1999/sep/christians.htm ]

* "The groups most directly involved in the violence against Muslims include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, VHP), the Bajrang Dal, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that heads the Gujarat state government. Collectively, they are known as the sangh parivar, or family of Hindu nationalist organizations."
[ http://www.hrw.org/press/2002/04/gujarat.htm ]

As evidence of IDRF-funded RSS-indoctrination, see

In case you don't identify the two thugs on this photo, they're the same as those on http://www.rss.org

Sun Jan 09, 03:17:00 PM IST