Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Are communists abusing American hospitality? -- Arvind Kumar

Indo-American News, October 7, 2005

Arvind Kumar

The human suffering caused by the tsunami disaster few months ago once again brought out an ugly facet of human nature to the surface. In the wake of the devastating tsunami, which left an estimated 200,000 dead, millions injured, orphaned, homeless and destitute, some political organizations posing as charities and a few other charities connected to political groups aggressively sought donations while providing little, if any, succor to tsunami victims. Collecting funds under false pretenses is nothing new, nor is it unique to the countries of the Indian subcontinent, but what is especially troubling in this case is that money collected by some organizations is used for political purposes and in some cases even ends up with groups that fund violent action.

In particular, some Indians in USA who support Communists at home have set up organizations that present a fa├žade of helping poor people. These groups often coordinate their fund-raising activities and shadow their proceeds by passing money through multiple accounts all controlled by like-minded groups.

Sandeep Pandey, the founder of Asha for Education (ASHA) which is one of the groups in the network, is a supporter of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation [CPI (ML)-L], a group that openly calls for an "armed revolution" and has a stated objective of using illegal methods and raising an army to wage a war. In November 2002, during its party congress, this group honored 'comrade martyrs' or terrorists killed in action. Sandeep Pandey was one of the speakers at
the congress and called for the unity of 'revolutionary' Communist organizations.

Another outfit, Association for India's Development (AID), is closely allied with ASHA and seeks funds from people in America in the name of charity, but is linked to Communist groups in India. When AID started collecting money ostensibly for the relief of those affected by the tsunami, it inadvertently publicized the fact that it was working together with other organizations including the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) – the youth wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist) – which was mentioned only by its acronym on AID's website. DYFI is routinely in the news for indulging in acts of violence and rioting. In March 2002, DYFI activists attacked women journalists, and in August of the same year, they torched buses. DYFI
has repeatedly targeted the offices of Malayala Manorama, one of the leading media houses in the south Indian state of Kerala, and in August 2003, hurled a petrol bomb at one of Malayala Manorama's offices. In November 2004, they threw stones at vehicles and smashed windshields on buses.

Using the time-tested "follow the money" technique, a recent independent investigation revealed connections between AID and Indian Communist organizations. According to information AID put out on the internet, it donates money to Tamilnadu Science Forum (TNSF) – yet another organization run by one of its own members – which in turn supports libraries but makes it a pre-condition 'as a policy' to support only those libraries linked to organizations such as DYFI. Effectively, this makes AID a front organization for Indian Communists seeking funds in USA. In the past, ASHA has also contributed money to TNSF.

Activities of Indians in USA that benefit various Communist groups are a matter of grave concern not just for Indians, but for everyone around the world. Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation considers Russian actions in Chechnya to be racist acts of terror and blames Russia for not giving in to the demands of the terrorists who held schoolchildren hostage at Beslan a few months ago. The US State Department has already listed as terrorist groups some radical Communist organizations in the Indian subcontinent, including a couple of groups that have an ideology similar to that of CPI (ML)-L
and share common roots with it. One of the key political parties that CPI (ML)-L opposes in the state of Uttar Pradesh is Bahujan Samaj Party, a party of oppressed Indians treated as untouchables by 'upper-caste' elite who support outlawed Marxist-Leninist and Maoist groups.

It is unfortunate that many unsuspecting people have been taken in by the claims of AID and similar organizations and have donated money to them. Several former donors state that they were unaware of AID's connection to Communists and believed the apparent good intentions of AID. Disillusioned students who have stopped donating to AID speak of a sense of betrayal they felt upon discovering its true nature.

Organizations like AID, which are based in the US, raise money by abusing the sincerity and goodwill of their American hosts. Although AID is connected to groups in India with an overt political agenda, it claims to be a non-political outfit and draws its support primarily from students on American campuses. One of its main bases is Stanford University in California where it has hosted speakers sympathetic to groups that base their ideology on hatred and indulge in violence. It is high time that the American authorities crack down on groups that brazenly operate in USA with a tax-exempt status despite their links
to radical Communists. There is no need to wait for a crisis before tackling the problem.

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