On the ‘Gloriavale Commune’ in India

Introduction

A background to this Post can be read on Indiafacts site here. For the sake of brevity, we shall use the same acronyms: GCC for Gloriavale Christian Community-New Zealand, CCC for Christian Church Community, Thiruviruttanpulli, Ambasamudram Taluka, Thirunelveli District (TN/076030358), SHCT for Smile Help Charitable Trust-Vijayawada (AP/10260339) and DF for Dohnavur Fellowship, Thirunelveli District (TN/076030011).

Recent Developments

We came across a recent investigative report which appeared in a New Zealand MSM here. MSM in NZ has been focussing on alleged abuses and other individual rights violations in Gloriavale. Naturally, they are not interested in the expansion of Gloriavale commune to India, as they (like most in the West) believe in Universal Religious Freedom, a synthetic concept which is alien and dangerous to Indian traditions. The NZ report, an excellent one (Kudos to the investigative journalist, Ms. Morgan Tait), obtained through their Right to Information Act provides details of investigations carried out by NZ’s Charities Services in 2015.

For relevance to us in that report are these: (a) The Gloriavale Trust in NZ is actually registered as “Christian Church Community Trust (CC25088) and (b) Money donated to Indian FCRA-NGOs is sent from a Bank account called GCC which contains private, post-tax money of individuals belonging to the Commune, but operated by the Trustees of CC25088.

Let us now take a look at the money transactions between all the above entities, as examined via FCRA returns.

NGO\Year

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

SHCT

15

DF

6.5

9.4

11.7

14.6

5.5

12.6

17.5

CCC

145

140

226

173

Table 1: Remittances from GCC, New Zealand to FCRA-NGOs. Amount in Rs. lakh. Data from fcraonline.nic.in

Interestingly, FCRA returns also show that CCC remitted, amounts of Rs. 14.5 and 21 lakhs in 2014 and 2015 respectively to DF. Such give-and-take between RoL FCRA-NGOs is quite common in India.

Who runs Christian Church Community, Thiruviruttanpulli, Ambasamudram Taluka?

A sentence in the Indiafacts article said “Who owns CCC is not known in the public domain.” Although the Indian Government (ideally the State Governments must be putting out such information, but they are all invariably inert to these matters anyway) should eventually put this information on the Darpan portal of Niti Aayog, it is possible for us to figure this out in another manner.

The newly formatted FC4 return for FCRA-NGOs requires the signature of the Chief Functionary of the FCRA-NGO to be uploaded. The same for CCC (TN/76030358) can be seen at the FCRA website of the Ministry of Home Affairs, say, for the year 2015-16. The signature is screenshotted from the FC4 return of CCC and is reproduced here:

ccc_sign.png

 

The signature of the Chief Functionary of CCC in Thiruviruthanpulli says “Faithful Stronghold (FS)”. That name is quintessentially Gloriavalish (Google up for their naming schemes) and not a common name in Tamil Nadu.

Who is Faithful Stronghold?

Faithful Stronghold used to be called as Kottapalli Mahesh Babu (KMB). How do we know this?

Let us check out Page No. 40, Right Column of Part-IV, Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Government’s Gazette published on November 9, 2011. It is available here. The same is reproduced below.

 kmb_gazette.png

So, Kottapalli Mahesh Babu affirms that he got converted to Christianity in September 2003 and received the name Faithful Stronghold. He declares the same in November 2011. The address provided in the Gazette is the same as that of CCC. Given that CCC came into existence only in 2011/2012, it is likely that Faithful Stronghold was living elsewhere. In Gloriavale commune, New Zealand? May be. We do not know for sure. But it appears that he exercised his Religious Freedom to get converted from Hinduism to Christianity in Gloriavale, NZ, given the nature of his name. Note also that he was born in 1991 and was converted in 2003, i.e., at the age of 12.

Indian students travelling to Gloriavale, New Zealand: Circa early-mid 2000s

There is an additional peripheral story which suggests that Mahesh Babu could have become Faithful Stronghold in New Zealand.

Read these news stories:

  1. Hindustan Times, October 16, 2006

  2. The Press, Christchurch, October 14, 2006

Venkata Siva Rayavarapu, aged 22 was met by a Gloriavale guy in Hanuman Junction, Vijayawada.

He was sponsored by Gloriavale to travel to New Zealand to study English, agriculture & community life. Gloriavale also helped his family in India. However, in 2006, he escaped from Gloriavale, breaking the contract that his father and he had signed with Gloriavale. The reason? He was being asked to marry a Mexican inmate of Gloriavale Commune. One of the leaders of  Gloriavale, Fervent Stedfast mentions that Rayavarapu wanted to marry only a New Zealander inmate as that would fetch him NZ residency.

Is there an equivalence between the initial trajectories of Kottapalli Mahesh Babu and Venkata Siva Rayavarapu? Although KMB’s new address is in rural Thirunelveli, his name and his village name (Kottapalli) are dead giveaways of his Andhra/Telangana lineage. Also his father’s name (Kottapalli Pullaiah). Same is true for Rayavarapu. The mention of Hanuman Junction in the MSM stories also point to a Andhra link.

It is well known that many students leave India to study abroad. Even to New Zealand. Even to Gloriavale! This is due to several entry barriers imposed by all Governments in India in the Education sector. Let us not digress ….

It is known that Gloriavale had only 55 families (each with about 8 children). Thus, were poor, willing but gullible Hindu students from India attracted by Gloriavale leaders to settle down there to increase its population? For long term sustainability and/or evolutionary reasons? We do not know. We would probably never know.

Summary

We are quite dissatisfied with what has been going on. And, what is going on. With FCRA. With all sorts of cults mushrooming in our Bhoomi. As usual, we wring our hands in despair.

On the ‘Gloriavale Commune’ in India

Gospel For Asia: Some updates via India and Canada

This Post, due in part to our laziness, has become a tale of two parts. The parts are
disjointed. Part-A could be of interest to foreigners and Part-B could be of interest to Indians. Indian Government should, ideally be interested in both the Parts. Nothing that it does not know is written here. After all, the data presented and discussed here is sourced from its publicly available, FCRA website. We are grateful to the FCRA Wing, Ministry of Home Affairs for making available this wonderful resource for public view without having to go through RTI.

Part-A

One of our earlier Posts on Gospel For Asia (GFA) had an update which referred to a new Canadian entity sending ‘donations’ to GFA related FCRA-NGOs in India. It was Little Hills, Stoney Crook, Ontario, Canada.

More Canadian entities which ‘donate’ to FCRA-NGOs of Gospel For Asia seem to have sprung up in 2015-2016. The same can be identified from the Quarterly returns filed by
Believers Church India (KL/52930220) at https://fcraonline.nic.in/fc_qtrfrm_report.aspx
.

These are listed below.

Name of Canadian entity Address Amount sent to India in Year 2016 (Rs.)
Lift up their Voices 1 King Street West. 10th Floor, Hamilton, ON L8P 1A4 , Canada 31900536
The Sick Healed 1 King Street West. 10th Floor, Hamilton, ON L8P 1A4 , Canada 34322242
Little Hills 77-238, Highway 8, Stoney Creek, Ontario L8G1E1, Canada 222756972
The Blind See Hamilton, ON L8P1A4, Canada, 41986122.63
Lame Walk King Street West, 10th Floor, Hamilton, ON L8P1A4, Canada, 38657563.30

We are amused by the names of these Canadian entities which are reminiscent of the 13 limited liability companies (LLC) that GFA had opened in Texas circa 2011 and through which it nourished four FCRA-NGOs in Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. Read this September 2014 original expose for that story.

Further information about the above businesses can be found at:

  1. The Blind See
    https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=9646906

  2. The Lame Walk
    https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=9646850
  3. Little Hills
    https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=9403647

  4. The Sick Healed
    https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=9648895

  5. Lift up their Voices
    https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=9648887

The addresses of all the above businesses on the Canadian Government website is given as: 1 King Street West, 10th Floor, Hamilton ON L8P 1A4, Canada. The Directors of all of them are the same three persons. The businesses have all been incorporated between August 2015 and February 2016.

A trivia: We notice that the addresses of some of these entities provided in our quarterly FCRA returns and that provided in the Canadian Government website do not match. As long as our Government does not check the antecedents, aims and objectives of the foreign donor (current FCRA law does not allow such checks), such ‘mistakes’ will happen. In any case, address mismatch is the least of the risks that FCRA poses to our Great Nation.

Part-B

The FC4 returns of the four FCRA-NGOs directly associated with Gospel For Asia, for the financial year 2015-16 are now available at the FCRA website.

The following are gleaned from those returns.

FCRA-NGO Reg. No. Unspent from 2014-15 [Rs. Crore] Bank Interest [Rs. Crore] Direct Foreign Remittance in 2015-16 [Rs. Crore]
Love India Ministries KL/52930228 83.4 10.9 76.2
Last Hour Ministry KL/52930227 108.5 17.6 103.5
Ayana Charitable Trust KL/52850064 237.7 27 826.2
Believers Church India KL/52930220 36.6 27 342.7

Ayana’s receipt of Rs. 826.2 Crore, totally from abroad, in a single year is a Record.

The total Bank Interest itself comes to around Rs. 82 Crore. This could amount to a Principal amount of around Rs. 1000 Crore [in Bank Fixed Deposits etc.]. We have discussed this matter earlier.

As we outed earlier, Ayana Charitable Trust is the new name for Gospel For Asia in India.

Ayana Charitable Trust has received foreign funds of approximately Rs. 129.2 and Rs. 693.1 Crores under ‘Religious’ and ‘Social’ categories respectively.

Believers Church India (BCI) has received foreign funds of approximately Rs. 102.9 and Rs. 239.7Crores under ‘Religious’ and ‘Social’ categories respectively. Interestingly, BCI says that it received an additional Rs. 500 Crore FC (foreign contribution) from a Local Source. The identity of this ‘local source’ is not mentioned in the FC4 return. Could it be Ayana Charitable Trust? We do not know. It can be any entity which has a FCRA registration. However, very few will have a resource of Rs. 500 Crore to spare for another FCRA-NGO. LoL!

A preliminary examination of the FC4 returns reveals that just TWO remittances (to Love India Ministries, LIM) have come from Gospel For Asia-Texas. All other remittances to LIM, Last Hour Ministry (LHM), Believers Church India, and Ayana Charitable Trust (ACT) have come from various other offices of Gospel for Asia, including those in UK, Germany, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. The only other remittances from Texas are from those LLCs associated with GFA.

Rhetoric

Why are our Governments (State Governments too need to share a large portion of the blame) allowing evangelical forces to operate freely in India? Does India need their money? Their so-called Love and Compassion? Nah. Certainly Not.

We are simpletons. We just gape at the vast sums of money pouring into FCRA behemoths of our Nation, for purposes we have no clue about. We study their Annual Returns. Quarterly Returns. We write blog posts. A dozen people RT us. Where is the transformation we seek?

We are told that We Make in India. Hmm… Really? This way? We are aghast. We wring our hands in despair.

Thanks for reading thus far. Now go back to discussing UP politics, latest Khan movie and some tripe on cricket. While Love grows like mushrooms in your backyard.

Gospel For Asia: Some updates via India and Canada

World Vision India: A Quick Intro

World Vision is in the news. And, it ain’t good. Israel has alleged that the Head of World Vision in Gaza diverted millions of US dollars to Hamas. See for instance, this news article. According to The Guardian, Australia suspended its grants to World Vision’s work in Palestine, soon after this story broke out.

While one should be aware of such happenings elsewhere in the world, we should be concerned about what happens in *our* backyard. Since this blogger has never written about World Vision India (WVI), it is an opportune moment to break the ice. Having said that, this Post is not a comprehensive one on WVI.

World Vision-USA

World Vision is a “charity” headquartered in USA and having operations in nearly all countries of the world. In its Form-990 World Vision-USA describes itself as: World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization serving children and families globally.

An extract from its Form-990 is given below:

wv_990_2.png

World Vision-USA gets grants from/via US Federal Government as well. An extract from WV’s Form-990 is provided below for that purpose.

wv_govtgrants.png

The FCRA Connection

World Vision India is a FCRA-NGO with Registration number: TN/75900011. Its FCRA address is: 16, VOC Main Road, Kodambakkam, Chennai-600024.  The following Table provides year-wise foreign funding received by WVI. A major contribution to WVI comes from WV-USA.

wvi_funds

 

Even accounting for the increase in exchange rate between USD and INR in the recent past, it is obvious that foreign fund inflows to WVI have risen sharply since 2013. It should be noted that WVI’s operations span a wide range — from child “welfare” to “advocacy”. This is not the time or occassion to belabour on its activities. Bhagwans willing, we shall address that matter at a future time.

The FCRA Wing, Ministry of Home Affairs changed the format of the Annual Returns to be filed by FCRA-NGOs each year. Earlier, it used to be FC6. Nowadays, it is FC4. To figure out what they mean, head to this beautiful Post. These annual returns are available for public view, thankfully without needing that stupid RTI.

There are many things which we do not like in the change from FC6 to FC4. However, there is one good thing about FC4. FC4 asks the FCRA-NGOs to provide a list of all the Utilisation Bank accounts that they hold. Foreign funds are received by a FCRA-NGO in one particular Bank account. For World Vision India,  that Bank account is in Chennai (as given in its FC6/FC4 forms). However, since WVI is a behemoth organization, it needs to spend this money wherever it is working in India. Towards this purpose, it holds several Bank accounts all over India. This list is provided in its FC4 form.

World Vision India holds a whopping one hundred and fifty Utilisation Bank Accounts all over India. Since modern India is a non-transparent society and Governments are shy to disclose information and data they possess in public domain and since NGOs are held in high esteem (both by Governments as well as by public at large), we have no way of finding out how World Vision India spends more than Rs. 350 Crore p.a. (foreign funds alone).

However, the geographical spread of these FCRA utilisation Bank accounts can provide us a clue on its spread and extent of operations. The following is a map of such locations (thanks to Google maps and to theXS mapping tool).

Here is the link to the Dynamic map. Play with it!! It is coooool !!

The following is the static map of locations of FCRA Utilization Bank Accounts of World Vision India. Need we say more?

wvi_banks.png

 

World Vision India: A Quick Intro

India Campus Crusade for Christ, Bengaluru: News & Beyond

Campus Crusade for Christ is an International Evangelical Organization with offices in several countries. As is the norm for nearly all Evangelical Organizations, it was started in USA. Recently, its name in the USA got changed to just CRU. CRU’s focus is to evangelize youth. You can google them, wikipedia them, check out their websites etc. for more information. One of its work which has impacted India (particularly in villages) is “The Jesus Film Project”. Again, google it up if you want to learn more about it, as that is not the focus of this Post.

Their Indian operation is headquartered in Bengaluru, on Hennur Main Road (LOL), to be precise and was headed by Dr. Thomas Abraham who founded it. He passed away recently in Toronto.

India Campus Crusade for Christ (ICCC) is a FCRA-NGO with registration number: KA/094420075. Its foreign funding receipts over the years are as under:

cru

ICCC gets its foreign funding primarily from Campus Crusade for Christ Asia (CCCA) located in Queson City, Phillippines. I suspect that CCCA itself may be a conduit for these funds and its origin is likely to be USA, Canada & Australia (and may be, also South Korea).

Given the youth focus of CRU, and that foreign Christian youth need to be “moulded” into evangelism to keep the faith alive, it is not surprising that foreign followers of CRU are shepherded to India both to keep their faith going as well as to impress gullible Indians on the goody goodyness and coolness of the Religion of Love (RoL).

We provide two such recent news stories here:

  1. August 1, 2013. Telegraph. Titled “College gets Korean friends- Seoul team on cultural exchange tour learns 3 Idiots song“, the story adds that 16 youth from Korea visited The Graduate School College for Women in Sakchi (Jamshedpur, Jharkhand). The visit was part of a cultural exchange programme. The story mentions that the Korean youth were part of CRU and that the visit was “supported” by ICCC. It even mentions the word “evangelical” which is a big surprise!! The Korean team also visited  Jamshedpur Co-operative College and Jamshedpur Women’s College.
  2. July 18, 2016. Avenue Mail. Titled “South Korean students visit city colleges to study local education patterns”, the story mentions that 12 students from Korea visited many colleges in Jamshedpur including the ones mentioned in story #1 above. The visit was apparently to learn about the Indian system of education, but the visitors were keen on broader issues like “promotion of culture, brotherhood..” We know what those mean, don’t we? 🙂

These Jamshedpur colleges themselves appear quite non-Christian. Thus, we are alarmed at the ease of penetration by evangelical foreigners there. Seriously.

 

 

India Campus Crusade for Christ, Bengaluru: News & Beyond

Follow-up of a Yugaparivartan story on Bless India Ministries

Portal Yugaparivartan which has been publishing some great material on issues facing Hinduism, has come out with a breaking story today. The story mentions a Pastor Nathan Rehn” of Bless India. Pastor Nathan Rehn is the founder of Bless India Ministries Incorporated (BIMI), 9729 Garis Shop Road, Hagerstown, MD 21740, USA.

This quick Post is to lay bare the financial flows of BIMI to India via FCRA. You could check out previous posts here (or elsewhere), to try and understand what FCRA is etc.

BIMI is a 501c(3) organization. Its EIN is 02-0758339.

BIMI has sent funds to a Christ the King of Kings Ministries Welfare Association (CKKMWA), 11-160, Ashok Nagar, Gajuwaka, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh-530026 during the period 2007 to 2010. CKKMWA has a FCRA Registration number of AP/010350118. The following Table summarizes the flow of funds to CKKMWA.

kok

A screenshot (see below) from the 2007-08 FC6 return of CKKMWA demonstrates CKKMWA’s receipts from BIMI.

blessindia1.png

Observations:

  • BIMI reports to have received from “Others-USA” a sum of ~ Rs. 1 lakh in 2006-07. The same is not discussed here as there is no evidence to connect this remittance to BIMI.
  • In the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, BIMI was the sole donor to CKKMWA.
  • CKMWWA has received a total of ~Rs. 1.64 Crore from BIMI during 2007-2010.
  • In 2010, a Spirit of Church Community Church, Pennsylvania became a co-donor.
  • CKKMWA (AP/10350118) has not filed FC6 (or FC4) returns for the years 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 yet. The returns for each year are due on December 31st. Thus, the FC6 return for 2011-12 was due on December 31, 2012.
  • CKKMWA’s FCRA registration is active, as checked on June 10, 2016.
  • Christ the King of Kings Ministries Welfare Association (CKKMWA) is registered in FCRA as a “Social” organization. It has no religious character. This flies in the face of fact that it has spent money on “Maintenance of priests/preachers” (see screen-shot from its 2008-2009 FC6 return below. ckkmwa1.png
  • The much-acclaimed (undeservingly so, imho) Darpan portal of NitiAayog does not have any entry for CKKMWA. Thus, we cannot know who owns/runs it via any Government sources in India. The situation with State Government records on charitable Trusts/Societies/Associations on issues of transparency is even worse. Let us not digress.
  • Three URLs (url1, url2, url3) related to CKKMWA show two associated names: Devadas Mekala and Subhakar Mekala.
  • Interestingly, in this Note to its donors, BIMI mentions that it has discontinued financial support to Mekala’s ministry (Author’s Note: i.e., CKKMWA) due to “sin issues” (Author’s note: financial misappropriation?)
  • The Form-990 (tax return to be filed by 501c(3) organizations in USA) for the year 2012 of BIMI reveals that it gave a loan of $105,000 to S. & D. Mekala (presumably Subhakar and Devadas Mekala). Could this be the “sin issues” referred above? We do not know. Its screenshot is:bimi_990.png
  • The same Form-990 of BIMI shows that it continued to support (financially of course), CKKMWA in 2012. BIMI also affirms that it brought volunteers (likely Evangelical Tourists aka Mission Trippers) “to various parts of India for the specific goal of expanding the work and reaching out in new areas of India”. (Author’s Note: *Reaching* is a technical word. It means introducing non-Christians to the Gospel). Its screenshot is: bimi_work.png
  • What is BIMI’s motto? Let us end this Post with a screenshot of its aims & objectives as stated in its tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (tax agency of USA). Screenshot from  its 2012 return: bimi_990_motto.png

 

Summary:

BIMI used to financially support CKKMWA via FCRA. It stopped doing so, post 2012 due to “sin issues” of CKKMWA.

Where would I place BIMI or CKKMWA in the Zoo of Evangelical organizations operating in India?

They would probably be in the bottom 5% pile (i.e., almost inconsequential). What does that tell you? Huh?

Follow-up of a Yugaparivartan story on Bless India Ministries