National Hindu Students Forum (UK) - Response to Awaaz Lies
By Shrien Dewani General Secretary, National Hindu Students Forum (UK)
A recent report by AWAAZ South Asian Watch Group must be fundamentally challenged - amongst its numerous errors and factual inaccuracies it incorrectly states that National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is a "UK Student Affiliate" of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK. At no point in its 13 year history has National Hindu Students Forum (UK) had an official affiliation to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. The report also goes on to state that National Hindu Students Forum (UK) shares the same address as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - this is also inaccurate.
Affiliates of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh openly list themselves as service projects of the registered Charity - something that National Hindu Students Forum (UK) have never done. Not content with creating disharmony in the general community, Awaaz have stretched themselves to maligning the good work of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) at Schools and Universities across the country by attempting to fabricate tenuous links between independent Hindu Organisations.
The report released on 26th February 2004 entitled "In Bad Faith? - British Charity and Hindu Extremism" attempts to create disharmony amongst various faith groups in the UK and makes wild allegations with no substance. Such is the lack of evidence that they have resorted to using images from National Hindu Students Forum (UK) National Educational Events on the front cover. This clearly has no relevance to the fabric of the report (which is highly unstable) as National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is not a British Charity, and it not an extremist society - in fact it is completely the opposite!
At a recent free conference - hosted and entirely funded by National Hindu Students Forum (UK) - Jewish and Muslim student bodies shared the same platform as National Hindu Students Forum (UK) to discuss the War on Terror and its effect on the British Community. Similarly National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is actively involved with such initiatives as Interfaith UK promoting harmony amongst the UK community. The work of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) includes organisation of a National Charity Week of which the primary aim is to get students involved in donating their time to general community service projects. This week in 2004 ran from Feb 23rd - Feb 29th and saw Hindu Societies organise activities such as painting local community centres, gardening for the elderly, visiting disabled children care homes and much more. Various charities are supported through this week - the chosen charities this year are Sewa International and Imperial Cancer Research. In conjunction with Sewa International National Hindu Students Forum (UK) have raised money to help needy causes such as the Gujarat Earthquake Appeal. The £60,000 raised in 2001 has been used to build 5 schools in the state of Gujarat - these schools have been visited by NHSF members and therefore we are happy that funds have not been used for any other purpose than that for which they were raised. We are not extreme and refute any allegations - direct or indirect - that infer that we are. Awaaz, through its report, is attempting to create disharmony in the UK community and should not be given the credence to do so.
Notes to editors:
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) was set up in 1991 by a mixed group of students to fill the void left on campus for Hindu Students by the lack of Hindu cultural and educational activity.
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) now has branches at over 50 schools, colleges and universities who run a varied set of events many of which are listed at http://www.nhsf.org.uk/events
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) has bases all around the country however its primary National address is: P O Box 46016, London, W9 1WS
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is an independently funded and governed organisation. The National decision making body as per its constitution is the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BoT)
The Charity week run by National Hindu Students Forum (UK) is called Sewa Week - "Sewa" meaning to serve. This is one of the sacred tenants of the Hindu faith and requirement of each and every individual. This week runs annually during the last full week of the month of February. The aims of the week are two fold - to aid general community service projects (not necessarily Hindu Projects) and to raise money for democratically chosen charities (charities to support are chosen by the National Council body)
The decision making bodies of National Hindu Students Forum (UK) - National Council (NC), National Executive Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BoT) are representative of a wide range of Hindu Organisations from across the UK Hindu Community.
Contrary to the charge that NHSF is involved in duping the British Public it is in fact the media that has been duped by such outrageous reports.