Sangh Samachar

The Deception Continues: HSC Fails to Deny CSFH Charges

On Sunday, April 15, 2007, the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) released a 65-page new report titled Lying Religiously: The Hindu Students Council and the Politics of Deception, (LyR) that comprehensively documented the links between the North American campus based organization, the Hindu Student Council (HSC) and the ultra-right, violent, Hindu chauvinist network of organizations in India-the Sangh Parivar. The report was released at the “2007 Organizing Youth (OY!) Conference” held in NYC from April 13-15 and was enthusiastically received by South Asian American youth at the OY conference.

In its response to the report, the HSC press release of April 20, 2007 characterizes the CSFH report as a smear campaign that is based on inaccuracies and outdated information. Beyond these assertions the press release only repeats banal platitudes about itself and its vision without denying even one item of evidence presented in the LyR report.

The first charge is curious since almost all information presented in the CSFH report are drawn directly from official HSC or Sangh Parivar sources. This leaves no room for claiming that the sources are invalid or the representation is inaccurate since these are all the HSC’s own statements about itself, and various Sangh organizations’ official statements about the HSC (See our first press release and a summary power point presentation at for details of the report). The methodological emphasis on sources internal to the Sangh family is to ensure that the evidentiary basis of the conclusions drawn is of the highest standards. Given this, we can only conclude that the HSC leadership is in denial.

Nevertheless, CSFH would like to highlight a few pieces of the evidence that the National HSC leadership has chosen to avoid and invite the HSC to publicly comment on the same.

  • The CSFH report documents that HSC maintains and hosts numerous Sangh websites (RSS, VHP, VHPS, ABVP, and others), thus playing the role of a mature partner in the Sangh family or parivar. This information is documented in detail with IP addresses in section 2.4.3, and Appendix A of the CSFH report. Does the HSC deny this?
  • In 1993, the HSC claimed that it became fully independent of the Sangh. Yet, in December 1995, the HSC was an invited participant at the Vishva Sangh Shibir (Global Sangh Training Camp). According to the press release of the organizers of that camp, “all its delegates were from several affiliated organizations of RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], which operate abroad as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Students Council, Friends of India Society International, etc.,” and the camp was “conducted on RSS ideology for NRI [non-resident Indians] workers.” CSFH challenges the National HSC leadership to comment on how it gained access to the sanctum sanctorum of an RSS shibir without being a member of the Sangh.
  • Despite all disavowals by the HSC leadership about their relationship to the Sangh, the VHP of America, has repeatedly, and most recently in 2003, said that the HSC was its project. Here is an extract from an archived VHPA page from 2003: “The programs and projects are defined by the local community needs within the broad framework of the Parishad mission. The ongoing projects are: Hindu Student Council: It is the youth wing of VHP-A functioning in 50 universities and colleges in the USA.” Given the official HSC position that it severed all links with VHPA in 1993, this amounts to a minimum of ten years of deception. Does the HSC deny that this link existed at least until 2003 officially? The VHP-A website still lists the HSC as an Organizational Component that it facilitates and promotes. Is the VHP-A website also based on inaccuracies and outdated information?

There are many more such examples in our report. The fact is that M/s Bhutada and Trivedi of the HSC National (who issued the HSC’s press release) are still trying to hide the connections between the HSC and Sangh. “The National HSC’s inability to contest even a single piece of evidence outlined in the report is nothing but an attempt to cover up with a hope that the chapters will not ask too many questions” said Ashwini Rao, a CSFH coordinator. “The report” he continued, “is spot on!” The HSC National leadership does not owe the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate any explanation. It owes its members in all the universities across North America an explanation as to why these affiliations were not revealed to them and why their futures were being endangered by associating them with an extremist group of organizations. We would urge members of every HSC chapter across the US and Canada who was not aware of these links to demand an explanation of the National HSC. The members of HSC who were not told about these connections were certainly duped.

One other matter raised in the HSC press release deserves comment. The HSC National leadership accuses CSFH of insensitivity in launching such a campaign at a moment when they are busy offering solidarity to the Virginia Tech HSC chapter after the tragic events of April 16. We find this diversionary tactic most hypocritical, for the HSC has stood by in stony silence after each riot carried out by its sister organizations in India. In 1993, the HSC rationalized and celebrated the destruction of the Babri mosque (and the anti-Muslim violence that followed) as “the beginning of the new age of Hindu Renaissance, a new Hindu Revolution”. Again, after the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the National HSC promptly (and rightly) called for apprehending the perpetrators of the Godhra carnage, but was understandably silent about justice for the families of the more than 2000 Muslims massacred in what was probably the worst carnage since 1947. In fact, in the post-genocide days, the National HSC was busy oiling the machinery of the Sangh’s global propaganda network (by maintaining the electronic infrastructure of the Sangh). Is the National HSC not complicit in the cover up that has ensued since 2002?

CSFH urges a public debate and discussion on this within the South Asian community, especially among Hindu-American youth, whose trust has been betrayed by the National HSC leadership. There could be no better starting point for a collective sorting out of the truth from the lies than with the HSC national leadership answering the challenges to the three very concrete and specific points we have raised above. The LyR report is replete with such evidence and if needed CSFH will break this down release-by-release for the benefit of the Indian-American community.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: