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Hindu right-wing groups in US got $833,000 of federal COVID fund

ਭਾਰਤੀ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਕੱਟੜਪੰਥੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਸੰਬੰਧ ਰੱਖਦੀਆਂ ਪੰਜ ਅਮਰੀਕਨ ਜਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਅਮਰੀਕਨ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵਲੋੰ ਅਮਰੀਕਨ ਵਪਾਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਕੋਵਿਡ ਰਾਹਤ ਲਈ ਹੈ, ਜੋ ਕਿ ਤਕਰੀਬਨ $833,000 ਅਮਰੀਕਨ ਡਾਲਰ ਬਣਦੀ ਹੈ।
“ਹਿੰਦੂਜ਼ ਫਾਰ ਹਿਊਮਨ ਰਾਈਟਸ” ਸੰਸਥਾ ਦੀ ਆਗੂ ਸੁਨੀਤਾ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਨਾਥਨ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਖ਼ਤਰਨਾਕ ਦੱਸਦਿਆਂ ਕਿਹਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਚਾਰ ਕਰ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਅਜਿਹੀਆਂ ਸੰਸਥਾਵਾਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਲਏ ਗਏ ਪੈਸੇ ਦੀ ਜਾਂਚ ਹੋਣੀ ਚਾਹੀਦੀ ਹੈ।
-ਗੁਰਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਹੋਤਾ | ਸਰੀ | ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ

Washington, DC, United States – Five organisations with ties to Hindu supremacist and religious groups have received COVID-19 relief funding amounting to $833,000, according to data released by the United States’ Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs.

SBA gave the funds as part of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDLA), Disaster Assistance Loan (DAL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

All three programmes aimed to provide economic relief to distressed businesses and keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis in the worst-hit nation in the world.

Massachusetts-based Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) received more than $150,000 under PPP and a further $21,430 under EIDLA and DAL programmes.

VHPA’s Indian counterpart, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), was designated as a religious militant organisation by the World Factbook of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for years.

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, an organisation affiliated with the RSS, obtained direct payment of $7,000 and a loan of $64,462 under PPP.

Infinity Foundation, another Hindu nationalist organisation with ties to the RSS, received $51,872 in US federal funds in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic according to SBA data.

Sewa International, an old RSS affiliate, also received $150,621 in COVID-19 relief.Sewa International funds several RSS-run projects across India. In fact, in the older RSS literature, Sewa International’s address was the same as the RSS headquarters in New Delhi.

Of the five organisations, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a Washington-based advocacy group co-founded by former VHPA activist Mihir Meghani, received the lion’s share of federal funds with $378,064 in PPP loans and another $10,000 in EIDLA.

HAF lobbies to deflect any criticism of Modi government’s policies on Capitol Hill, the most recent being its vehement defence of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which the United Nations described as “fundamentally discriminatory”, and India’s scrapping of the special constitutional status of Indian-administered Kashmir – both in 2019.

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