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.

Advertisements
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

Gospel for Asia-India (KL/52850064) changed its name in FCRA

This Post is long overdue. Wanted to write a longer one with lots of updates, but due to paucity of time, will write a short note on one essential point.

For a background to this Post, read:

  1. https://indiahap.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/additional-fcra-ngos-receiving-funds-from-gospel-for-asia-inc/
  2. https://indiahap.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/gospel-for-asias-fcra-returns-for-2014-15/

As always, we distinguish between Gospel For Asia-International (Texas, Canada, Germany, Australia, …) (abbreviated to GFA) and Gospel For Asia-India (abbreviated to GFAI).

GFAI *was* located in P.O. Box. 4, Manjadi P.O., Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala-689105 with FCRA registration number of KL/52850064.

GFAI recently changed its name to “Ayana Charitable Trust-House No. 303/3, Thengumtharayil, Kuttapuzha P.O., Pathanamthitta District, Kerala-689103”. The FCRA registration number, obviously, remains the same, i.e., KL/52850064.

The same was noticed by keen observers around October 2016.

Minutiae:

  1. FCRA details of the other three long-standing recipients of FCRA donations from GFA, i.e., Believers Church India, Last Hour Ministry & Love India Ministries remain unchanged.
  2. Ayana in Samskrutam, may mean either ‘refuge-place’ or ‘movement’, we are told. We have no more idea on this.

In this regard, we would like to offer a suggestion to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The FCRA wing of Ministry of Home Affairs,  has been doing yeoman service in publicly displaying all FC6/FC4 returns on its website (without needing to file the idiotic RTI). However, when a FCRA-NGO changes its name [or its address], then *all* the annual returns filed by it prior to the change in name/address also display the new name/address. Some years ago, we had noticed a similar ‘phenomenon’ with the evangelical organization in Rangareddy district, Telangana called “Operation Mobilization India” whose name on FCRA website got suddenly changed to “Operation Mercy India Foundation” in/around late 2014/early-2015 [both bearing the same Registration No: TS/10220133 at the same address, i.e., Logos Bhavan, Jeedimetla, Rangareddy District, Telangana, where seven FCRA-NGOs are co-located].

FCRA annual returns are sacred. In software engineering, a routine practice is Version Control. The FCRA Wing is suggested to follow such essential practices, so that independent examiners of open source, public information are not led astray.

Summary: Gospel For Asia-India (KL/52850064) is no longer known by that name in FCRA records. It has been rechristened (LOL) to: Ayana Charitable Trust (KL/52850064).

 

Gospel for Asia-India (KL/52850064) changed its name in FCRA

NHRC Notice to Ministry of Home Affairs on FCRA non-renewal for few NGOs: An Examination of Entities

Introduction & Background

Recently, the FCRA Wing of the Home Ministry undertook the process of renewal of FCRA registrations. This exercise is done once in five years, as per FCRA-2010/FCRR-2011. Nearly 20,000 NGOs got their FCRA registrations renewed. 11000 and odd did not apply for renewals at all while 1736 NGOs were asked to submit additional documents and thus a decision on their renewal status was kept pending.

Around two years ago, there were around 40000 NGOs in the FCRA list. Of these, around 11000 lost their FCRA status about an year ago, as they had not submitted the mandatory annual returns in several years. Thus, out of the total 40000, 30000 were ‘surviving’ prior to the renewal exercise of June-July 2016. Of these, around 11000 are gone now (well, almost!), as they didn’t apply for renewal, leaving us with around 20000 NGOs with FCRA registration. This does not come to us as a surprise, as only about 20000 NGOs were active within the FCRA domain over the last five years, anyway. Active means what? Active means that they were filing annual returns properly etc. As a matter of fact, the entire bulk analyses of FCRA returns that you may have seen at fcraanalyses.blogspot.in has been based on these 20000 NGOs only. Thus, the narrative which you may have heard of Government reducing the number of FCRA-NGOs from 40000 to 20000 is somewhat incorrect. Only about 20000 were active always. The rest were dormant (they may have been active on the field, harvesting souls etc, but they were “silent” in filing returns).

The purpose of this Post is anyway different. Government of India, in a bold move, appears not to have renewed the FCRA license of 25 NGOs for their indulgence in ‘anti-national activities’. See this Deccan Herald article for example. The list of these 25 NGOs is not available on the FCRA website; however, many mainstream media (MSM) sources provide a partial list. These are: Lawyers Collective (MH/83780742), Centre for the Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC) (TN/75940138), Compassion East India (WB/147120584), Sanchal Foundation (alias Hazard Centre) (DL/231650268), Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) (DL/231660846) and Institute of Public Health (KA/94421350).

In particular, we find the non-renewal of FCRA registration of Compassion East India (CEI), to be the boldest act of the Ministry of Home Affairs since May 2014. We applaud them for the same. Read these Posts [1, 2] for a background on CEI.

Centre for the Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC) is in Chokkikulam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. One of its prominent functionaries is Mr. Henri Tiphagne. CPSC is widely described in MSM as “People’s Watch”. Mr. Tiphagne received the 8th Amnesty International Human Rights Award in 2016 (he is the first Indian to receive the same). CPSC’s foreign fund inflows over the years is provided in the Table below:

cpsc_html_m3fbf49ef
Data from FCRA Returns site

CPSC’s major donors include Misereor (German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation), Bread for the World (a Protestant Development Service; Germany’s Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst merged with it recently; read here for a background on BfW & EED), Action Aid, Dan Church Aid, Cordaid, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development-Bangkok (AFHRD) and so on. CPSC is quite popular among our State Governments. For instance, CPSC runs ‘Human Rights Awareness’ programmes in several public schools, for instance. [Of the above donors, remember AFHRD; we will see them again in this Post].

Enter NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was established via the Human Rights Act-1993. It is a statutory body. It is headed by Shri. Justice (retd) HL Dattu and consists of Shri. Justice (retd) Cyriac Joseph and Shri. Justice (retd) D. Murugesan among others, as its members.

On 16th November 2016, NHRC issued a notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs after it “received a complaint alleging draconian approach of GoI in regard to renewal of FCRA registration of human rights defenders” (i.e., HR NGOs). The notice mentioned that NHRC has been informed by 7th Human Rights Defender Forum-Colombo on the FCRA non-renewal of CPSC. However, NHRC also adds that “it took suo moto cognizance of the matter” and issued the said notice.

In the following, we shall examine the entities mentioned in the notice. We do not pass judgement on anyone. We just collate and share information that is publicly available and mostly culled from Government/statutory_body websites themselves.

Our Observations

  1. Mint reports that CPSC had approached the Delhi High Court on Nov. 7, 2016 against the non-renewal of its FCRA registration. In a subsequent hearing of this case on Nov. 18, 2016, the HC refused to de-freeze the FCRA Bank account of CPSC. It is thus clear that the matter of non-renewal of FCRA registration of CPSC was under the consideration of the Court, i.e., it was sub-judice.

Section 9 (xi) of the Gazette Notification of NHRC dated 1997 says that “the   Commission may not ordinarily entertain complaints which are sub-judice”.

Thus, the suo-moto cognizance of FCRA non-renewal of CPSC and other unnamed Human Rights NGOs by NHRC is somewhat perplexing.

  1. Is the non-renewal of FCRA registration of some NGOs within the ambit of NHRC? Here too, we are a little perplexed. The functions of NHRC are stated clearly on page 8 (Chapter III.12) of this document, which is the NHRC Act-1993. The intervention in the FCRA matter appears to be unrelated to any of the Functions of NHRC listed there, except two:
    1. (i) encourage the efforts of non-governmental organisations (NGO) and institutions working in the field of human rights;
    2. (j) such other functions as it may consider necessary for the protection of human rights.

Was the suo-moto cognizance of FCRA action taken under Chapter III.12.i, i.e., “to encourage the efforts of NGOs”? Or, was it under the overarching ambit of III.12.j which is “such other functions as it my consider necessary”? We do not know.

However, the ambit question bothers us. Let us suppose, that in future, the FCRA Wing takes some action against the FCRA-NGO, World Vision of India (WVI), Chennai (TN/75900011), on some (assumed) violations of FCRA Act. As WVI is involved in a variety of works related to Child Development, Advocacy of Child Rights and so on (none of which we approve, by the way), will the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issue a notice to Ministry of Home Affairs? Or, let us say, MHA takes action on the FCRA-NGO, Women Power Connect for lobbying activities (see this Indiafacts story). Will the National Commission for Women issue notice to the FCRA Wing?

Thus, the issuance of a notice by NHRC on the non-renewal of FCRA registration of CPSC is perplexing.

  1. The NHRC notice to MHA quotes the “analysis” done by the UN Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (Mr. Maina Kiai) on our FCRA Act. NHRC directs MHA to reply to it on how “the litmus test laid down by the UN Special Rapporteur is applied in the adjudication by the Central Government.” (emphasis added).

It is indeed perplexing as to why the Ministry of Home Affairs has to bother about the report of an external agency (UN Special Rapporteur) in its (MHA’s) application of an Indian law (FCRA).

Leaving that argument aside, let us examine this so-called analysis of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights on our FCRA law. Given below are extracts from two documents:

cpsc_html_4a105eaa

cpsc_html_31f8d7b0.png

In Red is an extract from the report of the UN Special Rapporteur, dated April 20, 2016. In Blue is an extract from a report of the Center for Human Rights, American Bar Association (ABA), dated March 06, 2015. Both documents pertain to an “analysis” of our FCRA Act. The latter is prepared by the American Bar Association and was sent to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly [P.S.: The ABA document should not be construed as the policy of ABA, a disclaimer in the document mentions]. They are nearly verbatim copy-paste as seen in the above extracts. Readers are suggested to examine both the documents for a similar comparison of paragraphs. It is also to be noted that the UN Special Rapporteur’s analysis/report does not cite/acknowledge the report from the American Bar Association. We do not care from whom the UN Special Rapporteur obtained “his” analysis on our FCRA. However, it is mighty perplexing that my Nation’s NHRC depends on such a “borrowed” report/analysis.

  1. In its notice to MHA, NHRC mentions that a certain “7th Human Rights Defender Forum (HRDF)-Colombo” informed NHRC to intervene in the non-renewal of FCRA licence for CPSC. What is this entity, i.e., HRDF? HRDF is a meeting of so-called Human Rights NGOs, held during Nov. 14-16, 2016. It was organized by a Bangkok based Organization called Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (AFHRD). Among other donors, the meeting was also supported by Ford Foundation. To our knowledge, AFHRD is not registered as any society/trust/company in India.

Although NHRC mentions that it took suo moto cognizance of the FCRA non-renewals, it also mentions that it originally received the complaint from HRDF/AFHRD which does not have a Indian presence. We leave it to the readers on the appropriateness and locus standi of a foreign entity complaining to our statutory body.

  1. NHRC organized a ‘National Workshop on Human Rights Defenders’ on Feb. 19, 2015 in which one of its former members, Mr. Satyabrata Pal, was the Chief Guest. In his talk, he laments that “the revised Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) was passed to browbeat Human Rights Defenders”. The FCRA Act was revised in year 2010 and the rules were framed in 2011. Minor amendments to the rules (FCRR) were made in December 2015. So, it is quite bizarre that NHRC organized a meet in which the above was said. Mr. Pal also bemoaned that while the National Advisory Council (2004-2014) consisted of some Human Rights Defenders, the newly constituted Niti Aayog did not have any.

These remarks on an Indian law (FCRA) in an event organized by a Constitutional body  perplexes us quite a bit.

  1. NHRC has many Core Groups. One of them is a Core Group of NGOs. The minutes of the meeting of the Core Group of NGOs of NHRC held on Aug. 9, 2016 is available here. The meeting appears to have been chaired by the Chairperson, NHRC. One of the members of this Core Group is Mr. Mathew Philip, who belongs to an NGO called South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM). SICHREM has an alias and it is Manasa Centre for Development and Social Action. SICHREM is a FCRA-NGO (KA/94420845) and receives foreign funds from Misereor, Forum Asia-Bangkok (AFHRD), Dan Church Aid, Norwegian Human Rights Fund among others. In the Core Group of NHRC meeting held in August 2016, Mr. Philip raised the “issue of NHRC’s silence on provisions of FCRA being used against a host of human rights defenders”. An elaborate discussion on this matter that took place in the Core Group Meeting is also provided in the minutes and it was decided that members of the Core Group would write to NHRC on their views and on their requirements for amendments to FCRA (see page 16 of the Minutes). The Core Group of NGOs of NHRC was reconstituted on Sep. 23, 2016. Many of them appear to be functionaries of FCRA-NGOs.
  2. According to this NHRC document, Mr. Henri Tiphagne of CPSC was a member of the Core Group of NGOs of NHRC in November 2010. The same is also attested by this document (see page 99).
  3. An undated webpage on NHRC says that Mr. Henri Tiphagne is a member of a “Core Group to serve as a monitoring mechanism for consultation with NGOs in the Commission”. Google informs (not sure how reliable it is), that the page was created on Apr 1, 2002.

Summary

There are too many perplexing issues here: (i) sub-judice matter (ii) ambit of NHRC (iii) Copy-paste nature of UN Special Rapporteur report etc. The creme de la creme is that Mr. Tiphagne himself appears to be (or to have been) associated with NHRC. Both Mr. Tiphagne’s organization (CPSC) and SICHREM (whose Mr. Philip is a member of the Core Group of NGOs in NHRC) have received funds from Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development-Bangkok on whose “information” NHRC took “suo moto” cognizance of the matter.

Examining all the above, the word which comes to our mind is “propriety”. It might have come in your mind too (thanks for reading thus far, by the way!).

Well, that is all we have come across on entities, individuals mentioned in the NHRC Notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs. To repeat: We pass no judgement/opinion on any of them. The reader is expected to read the above slowly and assimilate the same.

NHRC Notice to Ministry of Home Affairs on FCRA non-renewal for few NGOs: An Examination of Entities

Beyond News: Helpline for women to participate in local elections, EKTA, Madurai & The Hunger Project

Times of India has a story about how a NGO, called EKTA, in Madurai had established a helpline to improve the participation of women in local body elections. The same news was covered a couple of weeks ago in The Hindu as well. People who call this helpline are later invited to attend a workshop where EKTA and Hunger Project India (another NGO) “sensitise” women on various aspects of polling, cash-for-votes etc. EKTA received over 1,000 calls in a span of 12 days. Six thousand people living in 60 villages are planned to be targeted in this campaign.

Wait. Are they just NGOs, or are they FCRA-NGOs? You guessed it right. Both EKTA and The Hunger Project India are FCRA-NGOs.

EKTA works on Gender Mainstreaming, Gender and Governance, Gender and Human Rights, Addressing Violence against Women, Girl Child Rights. The Hunger Project India works on Empowering Girls, Gender Discrimination etc.

EKTA’s address is: Bethel Nagar, Bible Bhavan Street, Bypass Road, Ponmeni, Madurai-625010. [Author’s note: This mainstreaming of RoL terminology is common place in Tamil Nadu. No wonder, temple idols are getting stolen from that State]. Its FCRA Registration Number: TN/75940284. The Darpan portal of Niti Aayog provides EKTA’s Chief Functionaries as: Bimla Chandrasekar, Ranjani Murthy & Jesu Rethinam.

The Hunger Project India’s official address is: 18/1, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi-110067. However, its FCRA registration has been done in Mumbai with the Number: MH/83345981. The Hunger Project has offices in many countries, with its headquarters in USA. The Indian office is headed by Ms. Rita Sarin.

The following Table provides the annual foreign funds received by EKTA & The Hunger Project as gleaned from the FCRA website.

ekta.png

Ekta’s donors include: Christian World Service-New Zealand, CESVI-Italy and The Hunger Project (LOL!)

The Hunger Project India’s donors include: Its worldwide offices, Norwegian Embassy and The Asia Foundation-USA. I am worried about the last donor. We do not know about donors to Hunger Project’s worldwide (outside India) offices. Hence, our worry is limited here.

Pray, tell me, did Times of India or The Hindu tell you about the foreign funded characteristics of these NGOs, in its news story? Shouldn’t India know? Hence this Post. Please spread the word. Thanks.

 

Beyond News: Helpline for women to participate in local elections, EKTA, Madurai & The Hunger Project

Amnesty International, its FCRA connections and some of its Indian players

Amnesty International is in Indian news, and it doesn’t look good for them. This Post will try to utilise the opportunity of the evanescent public interest on Amnesty and will try to explore some of its FCRA connections. This Post will not mention about a Mr. Aakar Patel. Thus, if you are addicted to that name, you can stop reading this Post.

Amnesty-India is not a FCRA-NGO, i.e., it is not registered under FCRA. There are two Companies related to Amnesty in India. These are:

Company

CIN

Directors (from mca.gov.in) (DIN in brackets)

Amnesty International India Private Limited (AIIPL)

U85100KA2013PTC069601

Shoba Mathai (00487078), Minar Vasudeo Pimple (02040411), Amitabh Behar (02555356), Nandini Anand Basappa (06633329) & Biraj Patnaik (07431665)

Amnesty International South Asia Foundation (AISAF)

U74900DL2015NPL279909

Minar Vasudeo Pimple (02040411), Meenu Vadera (02087197) & Susmitha Alva (07255939)

While AIIPL is a Private Limited Company registered in Bengaluru, AISAF is a Non-Profit License Company registered in Delhi.

Observations:

  1. If Amnesty-India is not a FCRA-NGO, where does it get its funds from? What is its relationship to Amnesty International-UK (or equivalents elsewhere)? To answer such questions, one will have to go through the Annual Reports, Financial Statements etc. of Amnesty-India which can be obtained from MCA. However, this requires payment of a nominal fee to MCA which this blogger would like to avoid as it will leave a trace.

  2. Minar Pimple is mentioned as the Senior Director of Global Operations, Amnesty International (AI) on AI’s website.

  3. According to InstaFinancials, Minar Pimple was a Director of Oxfam India (CIN=U74999DL2004NPL131340) during 2004-2010. Oxfam India is a FCRA-NGO (DL/231661035) with enormous interest and disruptive work on the so-called Right To Education among other “Child Rights”. It receives a huge amount of money, particularly from its UK principal, which in turn receives grants from UK Government’s DFID.

  4. Minar Pimple is the Founding member and the CEO (1984-2004) of Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), Kharghar, Raigad, Maharashtra-410210. YUVA is a FCRA-NGO (MH/83850025). It received Rs. 3.1 Crore of foreign funds in 2013-14. Its donors include: Dignity International, Oxfam India, Katholische Zentralstelle Fur Entwicklungshilfe (Catholic Organization), Janvikas-Ahmedabad, PLAN India (Leslee Udwin is PLAN-UK’s Ambassador), Ford Foundation etc..;

  5. Ministry of Corporate Affairs website shows that Ms. Shoba Mathai is also the Director of a Bengaluru company called Oriental Software Private Limited (CIN=U72100KA1985PTC007300) since 1985. The work of this Software company and profiles of its other functionaries can be seen on their website. Apart from leading private organizations, they also have many Government agencies as their clients. They also mention that international NGOs too are their clients. It is quite discomforting to see Government establishments listed there as clients. More can be said, but we shall leave it to the readers to ponder.

  6. It may also be pertinent to check out the list of Directors in this UK Company called IPARTNER India (Company number 05819852) here.

  7. The following FCRA-NGOs have received contributions via FCRA from foreign offices of Amnesty International:

    1. 2007: Association for Voluntary Action (AVA), Delhi (DL/231650169)

    2. 2008: Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action (CREA), Delhi (DL/231660359)

    3. 2011: Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), Raigad (MH/83850025)

    4. 2012: Society for Public Relations in Karnataka, Bengaluru (KA/94420384)

    5. 2012: Environics Trust, Delhi (DL/231660713)

  8. The website of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) states that “BBA activities are run through the registered society, Association for Voluntary Action”. In fact, the Darpan portal of NITIAAYOG too provides BBA’s website for AVA. At the same address as AVA, the following FCRA-NGOs exist: Bal Ashram Trust (DL/231660937), Global March India Foundation (231660984), and Save the Childhood Foundation (DL/231661122).

  9. Amitabh Behar is the current (2014-2016) President of the Governing Body of YUVA. Mr. Behar is also listed as a Director of AIIPL (see Table above). According to this beautiful investigative expose on foreign funded NGOs work on RTE, Mr. Behar also heads the Centre for Budget and Government Accountability as well as the Wada Na Todo alliance, and also the National Foundation for India. Dr. Madhav Nalapat in this article of 9th May 2015, says this about Mr. Amitabh Behar:

    the Ford Foundation now appears to have tasked a former employee, Amitabh Behar, to create a network of NGOs across India under the “Wada Na Todo” (Don’t Break Promises) slogan. Behar has taken over the well-regarded National Foundation of India (NFI), and according to sources in Delhi, has received over $7 million from Ford, besides significant amounts from the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations for expanding his activities into directions that appear to veer into the political, exactly as they did in the case of some other donees of the Ford Foundation, especially in Gujarat, a state which seems to have been on the radar of several organisations during 2002-2013. Such a network would have the capability to launch within weeks “independent and spontaneous” agitations on the lines desired by donor agencies, and can therefore get used whenever there is a disconnect between the wishes of the governments backing such foreign NGOs and the Government of India.

We hope and wish that Government of India eradicates FCRA as well as other routes (company route, BAM routes etc..) by which such Breaking India forces operate.

Has this Post answered every question you had on Amnesty India? No. Has it answered mine? Surely not. I just thought I’ll share whatever that can be collated from public domain here. That is all.

UPDATE ON SEPTEMBER 02, 2016: The DARPAN Portal of Niti Aayog provides the name of a NGO which appears to be related to Amnesty. Operating from Bengaluru, it is called “ Indians for Amnesty International Trust” and its chief functionaries are listed as Ananthapadmanabhan Guruswamy and Shobha Mathai. The common names are interesting to note. A screenshot of that page is given below.

darp_amn.png

Amnesty International, its FCRA connections and some of its Indian players

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