An unnoticed fact: the RSS, India’s biggest NGO, too, gets foreign funding

In 2002, a citizens’ report documented how a US-based charity was funneling funds to Sangh entities in India.

By Naresh Fernandes : Amidst the debate about non-profits, one fact seems to have gone largely unremarked upon: India’s biggest NGO, one that played a crucial role in installing Modi as prime minister, also receives foreign funds. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which has an estimated 2.5 million members, created an army of panna prabharis to help Modi during the election campaign.

Each prabhari was entrusted with contacting voters on a single page of the electoral rolls and getting them to the polling booth. As has reported, this strategy paid rich dividends. Modi’s wariness of foreign-funded NGOs evidently does not extend to the RSS, of which he has been a member since 1971.

In 2002, a report titled The Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva, put together by a group called The Campaign To Stop Funding Hate, documented how the India Development and Relief Fund, a charity based in the US state of Maryland, was funneling funds to Sangh institutions in India.

It claimed that the IDRF had sent more than $3 million to Sangh institutions in the seven years before the report was published. With NGOs being put under the scanner, this may be a good time to officially scrutinize the funding of the Brotherhood in Saffron.

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Volume 10 Issue 41 | New York | Oct 21

Print Edition ~ Digitally   Issue 41 ~ NYC ~ Oct 21  
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