- The Washington Times - Monday, March 9, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This is with reference to the article “Uncharitable giving” by Priya Abraham (Commentary, Feb. 8). The author says that India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) sends money to support the work of Hindu organizations that are accused of carrying out a “hate” campaign against India’s minorities - especially Muslims and Christians.

As a former World Bank official, and the founding president of IDRF, I am aghast at the continuing denigration of IDRF by vested interests who have not bothered to directly contact us about our operations and the projects we fund - projects that have been consistently helping the needy and poor in India across religion and caste barriers.

Since its inception in 1987-88, IDRF has disbursed around $20 million in grants to not-for-profit tax-exempt organizations in India that have an impeccable record for their humanitarian services. In turn, we take pride in the transparency of our accounts and post our annual audit reports on our Web site, www.idrf.org, besides submitting them to the official agencies in United States.

IDRF is committed to the ideals of nonviolence espoused by Mahatma Gandhi. However, we are saddened to note that Indian events are used selectively by ideologues for their smear campaigns against us.

The opinion piece in your newspaper is a replay of a tired and worn-out smear, first used against us in a 2002 study written by anthropologist Angana Chatterji, whose work helped the author of the opinion piece. An independent group of Indian-American intellectuals responded to this study by checking all the facts in detail. This is a public document and is available online (www.letindiadevelop.org/thereport).



Authors such as Ms. Abraham who continue to choose “guilt by association” slanders should heed to the call of President Obama to play fair and to build trust across human-identity boundaries. Thus, it is time for the media to stop indulging those whose willful gamesmanship has led to so much friction and violence in the world.

DR. VINOD PRAKASH

President

India Development and Relief Fund Inc.

North Bethesda

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