UK/India: One Year On - Remember Gujarat - Candlelight Vigil - Monday 3rd March 2003

South Asia Solidarity Group
One year after the Gujarat genocide, we are holding this vigil outside the offices of the British Charity Commission, because the organisations which financed the massacres and the continuing communal violence are still enjoying charity status in Britain.
These organisations enjoy the official status of charities and are registered with Britain’s Charity Commission (a major factor enabling them to raise funds on a large scale). The biggest Indian charity Sewa International (whose gross income rose from 748,355 pounds in 2000 to 2,175,971 pounds this year) and the HSS, a sister charity under whose name it is registered, were exposed in a Channel 4 television news report on December 12. The programme revealed how one organisation funded by Sewa International, the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat, is directly implicated in the February-March 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom. Forensic evidence implicates a leading member of the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, who is currently "on the run from the police," as "leading a mob of 2,000 tribal people" in an attack on Muslim minorities. The programme also reported that a Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram leader "threatened the villagers saying that if they didn't join in provoking the Muslims and burning them, they would also be treated like Muslims and burnt." And in a chilling aside, a local Hindu activist told of Kalyan Ashram's plans for yet more violence "The Christians have made a church in our village. We have thought several times of destroying it. One day we will definitely break it down." For more details contact the South Asia Solidarity Group at