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Hindu Forum of Britain

June 14, 2007

Please take the time to read the below article, which has been reproduced from a well known anti racist blog. I have amended this introduction to deal with allegations. As I understand it this is a full article published in the Evening Standard. This story is shocking if it is true and I believe it is true.

ONE OF the key members of a Government taskforce charged with tackling “extremist ideologies” and religious segregation has close associations with violent extremists and recently praised a man who endorsed Hitler’s treatment of the Jews.

Ruth Kelly’s Commission on Integration and Cohesion will this week deliver its landmark report into how Britain can foster “inter-community harmony.” But a Standard investigation reveals that one of the commission’s own members, Ramesh Kallidai, has clear links to violent Hindu fundamentalists accused of “direct responsibility” for the slaughter of thousands of Muslims. In Britain, Mr Kallidai has accused British Muslims of “aggressively” converting “hundreds” of British Hindu girls to Islam through intimidation and beatings. However, police forces contacted by the Standard say they have no knowledge of a single such case.

The Standard has learned that around half-a-dozen other members of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion held a late-night meeting in a bar to discuss their concerns about Mr Kallidai. At least one member, and possibly more, approached Mark Carroll, a senior official in Ms Kelly’s department, to raise concerns about Mr Kallidai’s presence on the commission. No action was taken.

“The concerns were about his links with Hindu fundamentalism and exactly how much he stands by some of the things he has said,” said one figure close to the Commission.

Mr Kallidai is secretary-general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, which claims to be the leading representative body for the country’s 600,000 Hindus. However, his appointment to the commission has horrified some British Hindus.

Lord Desai, the Labour peer, said: “White politicians look at religion very uncritically they say we must respect all cultures, all faiths. But these guys have no respect for other faiths.” Chetan Bhatt, professor of politics at Goldsmith’s College, London said: “Mr Kallidai has chosen to associate with organisations that represent in India what the BNP represents here.”


The main such organisation is a Hindu fundamentalist group known as the Vishwa Hindu Prasad (VHP.) The Hindu Forumof Britain and the VHP’s British branch have sent out several joint press releases and have organised a number of joint events including two meetings with the Commission on Integration and Cohesion in February and March and a launch of the so-called “Hindu Charter” at the House of Commons.

Testifying to MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2004, Mr Kallidai defended the VHP, saying: “We would deny it is an association of Hindu extremists … It is a peaceful organisation.” In fact, according to Human Rights Watch, the VHP was“directly responsible” for anti-Muslim riots in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, in which 2,000 Muslims died. During the disturbances, VHP leaflets described Indian Muslims as “saboteurs” and “anti-nationals” who must be cleansed from Indian soil.

In 2004, the VHP called for the destruction of a Muslim mosque and in 2005 its international secretary, Praveen Togadia, said Indian Muslims should take blood tests to prove they were not of “Arabian” descent. In 1992, the VHP led calls for the destruction of the Muslim mosque at Ayodyha, which left over 3,000 dead.

On 12 April this year, in Wembley, Mr Kallidai spoke at the British conference of another Hindu fundamentalist organisation, the RSS, a paramilitary group which wants to expel Muslims and Christians from India and turn the country into a Hindu state.According to a report of the event in the RSS’s official newspaper, Mr Kallidai praised the organisation’s “exemplary” ideology and its ex-leader, M.S.Golwalkar.

Mr Golwalkar has written and spoken approvingly of Hitler’s treatment of the Jews and said it was a model India could learn from. Contacted by the Standard yesterday, Mr Kallidai refused to deny praising Golwalkar and the RSS. In the UK, the Hindu Forum of Britain has led a number of “cultural campaigns” to protest at what it calls “insults” to Hinduism. Mr Kallidai’s most recent campaign is to save a sacred bull, Shambo, kept at a Welsh Hindu temple but due to be slaughtered after testing positive for TB.

Last year, the HFB campaigned against an exhibition of pictures in London by India’s greatest living artist, M.F.Husain, a Muslim. The exhibition was cancelled on security grounds after three men entered the gallery and vandalised the pictures. There is no suggestion the HFB or Mr Kallidai were involved.

In 2005, Mr Kallidai got the Royal Mail to withdraw one of its Christmas stamps from open sale, claiming it was insulting to Hindus. In fact the stamp, depicting the baby Jesus and Mary with a Hindu mark on her face, is a reproduction of a famous Indian painting owned by Hindu nationalist hero Nana Phadnavis. The picture has been a much-loved attraction in the Mumbai municipal museum for years.

“This is the absolute textbook religious extremist agenda,” said one expert who has advised the Commission on Integration and Cohesion. “You whip up the ‘base’ with flimsy allegations that play to people’s emotions. The forced conversion slur, inparticular, is an exact copy of an allegation that has been made by Hindu extremists in India.” Despite the Hindu Forum of Britain’s links to extremism, the group has been supported by some British officials.

According to its website, Tony Blair has spoken of the HFB’s “success at promoting the positive achievements of the Hindu community,” and David Cameron, the Tory leader, has called it a “highly professional and authoritative voice.” The HFB’s 2006 annual ball was attended by Europe Minister Geoff Hoon and Home Office minister Tony McNulty.

Sir Ian Blair, the Met Police commissioner, attended the HFB conference in February where the allegations of “Muslim forced conversion” were made. At the gathering, Sir Ian promised to crack down on the supposed crime and said: “There is a feeling inthe Hindu community that we have not given them as much attention as other groups.”

In July 2006 another organisation linked to Mr Kallidai and the HFB, Hindu Aid, was given almost £140,000 of public money by the Department for International Development to “educate British Hindus about development issues.” Hindu Aid’s website describes it as a “British charity” dedicated to the relief of suffering. In fact, Hindu Aid is not a registered charity, but a limited company which has claimed exemption from the requirement to file detailed accounts.

The limited data on file at Companies House suggests that in 2005/6, the last year before the DFID grant, it had an income of only £2,500, suggesting that its ability to relieve suffering was limited. Hindu Aid’s website suggests some of its money is channelled via SEWA, a charity allegedly linked to the RSS and investigated by the Charity Commission after allegations that some of its funding had been diverted to back anti-Muslim violence.

SEWA was cleared by the Charity Commission, but the commission admitted it had not investigated its alleged RSS links or its complicity in the killings after SEWA said the allegations were untrue. Mr Kallidai is vice-chair and company secretary of Hindu Aid, and every other member of the management board, except one, is also a post-holder in the Hindu Forum of Britain. The two organisations share an office.

Mr Kallidai, the HFB and Hindu Aid refused yesterday to respond to questions about their links with extremism. They were also unable to provide examples of their allegations about the “forced conversion” of Hindu girls.

One expert said: “You might wonder how a man like Kallidai could become an official ‘integration commissioner’ or how his organisation could achieve the legitimacy within government that it has. What ministers are doing is making the same mistakeas they made with the Muslim Council of Britain they are taking those who shout loudest as representatives of their faith.”

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18 comments

  1. This is going to sound terribly naive of me, but my feelings are that if it’s hateful, it’s wrong.

    It really doesn’t matter what race, religion, gender or sexuality the person is.

    And it follows, surely, that if it’s wrong then the Police shouldn’t be associated with it.

    That said, as I’ve written, I do tend to be a bit naive sometimes.


  2. It takes courage to say what you say, but our leaders are weak. If there is a sniff of fundamentalism the services leaders, ACPO, etc. should consider whether they wish to be associated with fundamentalism in any form. The truth is our leaders are scared that they might be viewed as racist. How bizarre? If they preach hatred in any shape or a member does, then one can choose to be a part of it or not. Links with Nazism are not an example we should aspire to, if of course, this allegation is true.


  3. “..if it’s wrong, then the police should not be associated with it..”
    But the police are hand-in-glove with main stream politicians. Can’t be many, more wrong than them! The only point of interest there, is that the police choose which political parties and bodies to kow-tow with.


  4. Dickiebo, any form of fundamentalism is wrong. There is a difference between nationalism and fundamentalism, nationalism is about a celebration, like you and Panesar, fundamentalsim is about supremacy. How can we hope to deal with extremists if we consult with some that may have extremist links. Our leaders are too weak. Or perhaps they haven’t a clue! I’d bet on the latter! or perhaps they don’t even care.


  5. I think the world needs more naive people.


  6. Roses, does that mean we are naive people? I guess so…..


  7. As a service we have a duty Roses?


  8. Humpf. Don’t get me started on the concepts of Service and Duty.

    I used to work in Local Government and when I came a cropper one too many times for doing my job (and doing it well) I realised the cost to myself and my Boy was too high.

    Service is a word which The Powers that Be, tend to avoid in their day-to-day management jargon spin. With Service, come expectations that you work on behalf of those who can’t or won’t and sometimes against your own wishes.

    It is what most serving officers do. Which is why I have nothing but respect for them. If you stopped the man in the street and said:

    “Mate you can have a job, pay is meh, the hours are long and unsociable, you’re going to be in physical danger, you’re going to be good friends with a pen and no one, from your management to the people you serve will appreciate you. Want a job?”

    Who in their right mind would say yes?

    And that goes for the police, ambulance, fire service and teachers, nursing.

    So to answer your question, yes I am naive. I think people try and complicate issues to hide the root of the matter. And when hate is at the root of the matter, that’s when the trouble starts.

    Damn. I didn’t mean to rant.


  9. Sorry I got you started Roses. There are costs if you challenge the powers to be. And I feel your right. When hate is at the root, the powers to be “wobble.” Which makes you wonder, why exactly are they in power? So keep challenging, but be brave, and challenge and walk, challenge and walk.

    I have been accused of being Anti Islamic, when actually fundamentalists could not deal with their own prejudices. I will no doubt be accused of being anti Hindu, for the comments I make here.

    But Hinduism is not supposed to favour Anti Jew hatred or Nazism, nor is it supposed to have a go at Islam. Which makes you wonder why exactly are they in power? And, I am Hindu, but I don’t think I have hatred. I have reported here on my people who show hatred, some are White, some are Islamic and some appear to be Hindu. We cannot afford to consult with extremists.


  10. I meant “on many people,” not my people


  11. My friend,

    Your post does seem to me to be stirring up some degree of hatred of an individual on ethnic and/or religious grounds.

    Please restrain yourself.

    Michael

    (Yes, that Michael. No, most definitely not National Front, nor fascist.)


  12. Sorry. I should have warned you about my tendancy to climb on my soapbox.

    Personally, I think that I never know enough about the situations that lead to the situations of religious conflict. I’m not tempted to become more informed because the more I research, the more it seems that both sides are unable to see past their own agendas and axe grinds.

    Unfortunately, the ones who suffer in these circumstances are the women and children, those who are most vulnerable and most in need of protection.

    As for the religious agenda…pah. Any deity who demands the suffering of innocents in the pursuit of their own agenda, isn’t worth worshipping.

    As I said, I’m naive.


  13. “..cannot afford to consult with extremists..”
    Here we go again!
    If 2 out of 3 people believe that we have allowed too many immigrants/asylum seekers into this country, would you say that those who have allowed this, are in the minority? And, if so, are they not de facto extremists?
    I say again, we all seem to pick and choose which parties we accept, and which we do not.


  14. Michael, which part exactly. The article is copied from a recognised blog, and comes from The Evening Standard.

    The highlighted parts in blue are areas of concern and the items in red are views. It’s not my intention to stir up hatred.

    If the allegations are true as most believe they are then it is not my views that are about hatred Michael.


  15. Dickiebo I am confused. Of course the police are hand in glove with parties, why else would there be so much of target pushin, etc. It’spolitical. So, what you are saying is the police will choose who in the minority community to associate with?

    Roses perhaps I am naive too. And at this moment with the below allegation I prefer to be naive.

    Michael – Once again thank you for your contributions. You will have to explain what you mean. Such open words, without an explanation, and spuriously suggesting that I am stirring up? I would refute your allegations.

    The extract comes from a blog that is totally anti racist my freind, and is up for an award.

    I’ll suggest it to a well known journalist and another shall I; that the truth is deemed to be stirring up some hatred?


  16. Twining; Let me put it like this; a couple of chaps were delivering flyers for a legitimate political party, prior to elections. The police arrested them, locked them up for several hours, then attempted to question them. They were then released without charges being made.
    Now, honestly. Would they even dare to do this to a mainstream party’s workers?


  17. Dear Pee Pee,

    You are beginning to sound sooooo serious. Up our way there is an old (very) joke that goes like this?

    Q. Fit dis a Hindu?
    A. Lay eggs, min.

    I’ll get my coat!

    On a serious level though, all fundamentalists are total purists. That concept is naive in itself. As someone once said, “He who casts the first stone etc….”


  18. Your coat, Noddy! Does that mean you are coming for some training. I only get serious when something annoys me!



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