Hindutva Groups in US: Report Shows How They Operate, Send Money to India

Who donates to charitable organizations and why? Donors’ donations to these organizations are tax deductible and lowers the ceiling on tax and on “adjusted taxable income” in annual tax returns. Simply put, it is a tax write off but can trigger scrutiny, audit by the IRS.

DESPARDES — A report on Hindu Nationalism in the United States explores the financial links between Sangh Parivar affiliates and the American counterparts that send them money.

Published by the South Asia Citizens Web, the report reveals just how much, and to whom it is going.

Titled ‘Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Nonprofit Groups’, the document studies the rise within Indo-American Hindu communities, and in US universities, of various non-profit organizations affiliated with Sangh Parivar groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Every year, charitable organizations based in the US donate millions of dollars of funding to non-profit groups affiliated with the Sangh Parivar, either in India or overseas.

Most of these American organizations receiving such donations from individuals or corporates, are registered as tax-exempt charities under IRS code 501(c)(3) and is also subject to scrutiny/audit as any other public entity profit or non-profit.

The report on Hindu nationalism in the US analyses official tax records to ascertain what they do with the funds they collect. It finds that these organizations spend several million dollars a year to fund numerous NGOs in India.

Here are some of the significant points discussed in the SACW report:

The India Development and Relief Fund, based in Maryland, USA: According to a 2002 report by Sabrang Communications and South Asia Citizens Web, 50% of IDRF disbursements between 1994 and 2000 went to Sangh Parivar groups in India. From 2002 to 2012, the organization has disbursed more than $17.3 million to hundreds of recipient organizations in India, most of them Sangh-affiliated development and relief groups such as the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India, Param Shakti Peeth and Sewa International. A lot of the relief work involves development of adivasi communities.

The American counterparts of the RSS and VHP is The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), both tax-exempt organizations.

From 2002 to 2012, the HSS spent $1.4 million towards its youth and family camps in the US. The VHPA has spent more than $1 million on the same in that period.

Both organizations operate youth and family camps and educational programs for children to promote Hindu culture and identity.

Other funders: The report also studies the tax records of four other US-based development-related charities that have connections to Sangh leaders: the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Param Shakti Peeth, Sewa International and the VHPA. It finds that from 2001 to 2012 these five organizations together allocated more than $55 million to projects, most of them in India. The leadership of many of these organizations overlaps.

The Bajrang Dal: Described as “extremist” by the US State Department’s annual reports on International Religious Freedom because of assaults on religious minorities, the Sangh Parivar’s militant youth wing doesn’t have tax-exempt counterpart in the US.

Based on original article in Scroll.in